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Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Suborder: Vombatiformes
Family: Phascolarctidae
Genus: Phascolarctos
Binomial name
Phascolarctos cinereus
(Goldfuss, 1817)
A Koala eating leaves.
A sleeping Koala in a zoo.

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are herbivore marsupials that live in eastern Australia.[6] They are the only living species in the family Phascolarctidae.

Koalas are often called the koala bears because it looks like a small bear or teddy bear. However, it is not a bear, it is quite a different type of animal.[6][7]


Koalas have brownish-grey or silver-grey fur, and a big pink and/or black nose. They have sharp claws which help them to climb.[8]


Koalas are mostly active at night. They live in trees, land and they do not like to be on the ground. They mostly eat leaves, bark and fruit of some Eucalyptus trees. Koalas do not drink often, they get most of their water from the Eucalyptus leaves.

Koalas live alone most of the time, but they have a social hierarchy with the other koalas who live near.

After a pregnancy of 35 days, the newly born koala is about a quarter of an inch long, and is born with no ears, eyes, or hair. It crawls into its mothers pouch on its own. After 12 months the young koala is old enough that it does not go into its mother's pouch or need milk anymore. The female koala can have another baby then. Young koalas usually leave their mothers when they are 18 months old, but if their mother does not have another baby they sometimes stay for up to three years. Koalas become mature when they are about two years old, but they often have their first baby after another two years.

Other information

The koala is not an endangered species, but it is a near vulnerable species. One reason is the loss of habitat, which means that koalas have less space to live. In some places there are very few koalas left. But there are also places, such as French Island (Victoria), with too many koalas that eat too much.[9] Because of this the eucalyptus trees and other animals are in danger. A study looking at koala numbers at 1800 sites for 20 years, shows that the number of koalas is falling. The study, by the Australian Koala Foundation, estimates that there are only about 50,000 koalas left.[9]


Most groups of koalas in Australia have the disease chlamydia. This is also affecting the survival of the species. Koalas on French Island do not have the disease, and so groups of them are often moved to the mainland to repopulate some areas. The disease can cause blindness, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and reproductive tract infections.[10]


  1. Groves, Colin (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 43. ISBN 0-801-88221-4 .
  2. "Advocates hail koala 'vulnerable' status". Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  3. "Advocates hail koala vulnerable status". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  4. "Koalas added to threatened species list". Australia: ABC. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  5. "Koalas to be listed as threatened amid rapid decline". 27 April 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Koala". National Geographic. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  7. "Koala (Phasclarctas Cinereus)". Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  8. "Koala - profile". Department of Environment and Conservation New South Wales. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Morton, Adam (November 10, 2009). "Fewer than 50,000 koalas feared left" (in English). The Age. pp. 4. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  10. "Information on Koalas. This Koala information is regularly updated.". Retrieved 28 July 2010.