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Getting to know

  The koala - phascolarctos cinereus

 pronounced      fas'-koh-lark-tos    sin'-er-ay-us

 

The more knowledge we have, the better we can understand and appreciate their existence.

 

The koala is a medium to large marsupial the lives eucalypt trees. But how well do we really know them. They look cute and are Australians most popular animal for tourists to see.

 

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It is a “frontal” mammal; it tends to have a face rather than a muzzle. This is why they are often thought of as cute and cuddly.          

Its eyes are forwardly directed, its nose is large and looks vertical, it has a relatively high forehead and the koala is normally observed in an upright position. These characteristics are considered to generate the empathy in humans for the species. 

   

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 Victorian koalas are about 50% larger than those from Qld and Northern NSW. Our adult males average at 12kg (ranging from 9.5kg to 15kg) and females average 8.5kg (ranging from 7kg to 11kg). While there is only one species of koala they do vary considerable from  Northern Australia to Southern Australia,  in size, length of fur and colour.


north-vs-south-koalas

 

Victorian koalas have longer, thicker fur to cope with cooler weather. Our local koalas are grey to brownish coloured on the body (dorsal) with white/cream on their chest and belly, inner arms (ventral) and ears. They also have white and grey fur on their bottoms which is shorter and denser making it more confortable to sit in trees.. They have no fur on their nose or palms of their paws.

 

         koala bulletDid you now that koala dorsal fur has the highest degree of insulation known for a marsupial?

         That the ventral fur is half as dense of the dorsal fur, and is more reflective of solar radiation.

         The colour and pattern of the coat varies considerably between individual koalas and with age.  

 

 

The most obvious features of the koala is it’s fluffy ears and prominent nose.  

It's nose is smooth and soft, covered with fine downy hairs. Every koalas nose has a different pattern of markings or spots. 

 

koala nose

 

The ears are large and rounded, covered with thick fur on both sides. The koala does have acute hearing.  

 

Capture

The Koala has small eyes in comparison to the size of it's head. It's eyes are unusual, as the pupils are vertical slits rather than circular as in other mammals. The iris is normally brown, but can be blue also.