The native koala habitat is the eucalyptus forests of Eastern and Southeastern Australia. Koalas live high up in these towering eucalyptus trees (or gum trees) attending to their favorite activities: sleeping and chewing gum leaves.
These plump and furry marsupials can be found in a variety of habitats ranging from relatively open forests to dense bushland, and in climates ranging from tropical to cool temperate.
Where Are The Most Koalas In Australia?
In the northern state of Queensland, koalas are not common except in the south-east corner.
The most north koala colony is on Magnetic Island, off the Queensland coast.
In New South Wales, koalas are most abundant in the Pilliga region, while in Victoria, they can be found almost everywhere.
In South Australia, koalas were wiped out by 1920 but have since been reintroduced and can be located near Adelaide and on Kangaroo Island and French Island.
Its diet restricts the koala’s habitat. There are over 600 species of a eucalyptus tree in Australia but, of these, koalas will eat the leaves of only 30 or so, showing a preference for leaves that have a high protein content and low proportions of fiber and lignin.
As these eucalyptus leaves have high water content koalas, do not need to drink often. A koala eats up to two and a half pounds (one kilogram) of leaves per day, spread over four to six feeding sessions.
Koala food is also low in nutritional value and caloric content, accounting for the koala’s low energy lifestyle. Koalas have a metabolic rate that is about half that of other mammals. To conserve energy, koala sleep habits would put any human teenager to shame! They sleep for up to 20 hours a day, becoming active only for a few hours.
Do you Know Koalas also has one of the smallest brains in proportion to any mammal body weight, thought to be another adaptation to the energy restrictions caused by their diet? Koalas may be among the most adorable creatures, but they don’t have the biggest brains.
Usually, Koalas living in the wild live on average from 13 to 18 years, with females generally living longer than males. At around six years of age, the koala’s chewing teeth begin to wear down. Once they can no longer eat gum leaves efficiently, they can starve to death.
While koalas live in colonies and have home ranges, they aren’t very social creatures, spending just 15 minutes or so a day on social interactions.
Koala society consists of “residents,” mostly adult females, and “transients,” primarily males. Resident males tend to be territorial and dominant due to their larger body size.
Many koala habitats are now protected under government legislation as designated koala sanctuaries. Still, in many areas, the koala’s habitat is shrinking or threatened by encroaching agricultural development or the spread of urban development.
Bushfires are another threat to koala habitat, as eucalyptus trees are highly flammable, and the slow-moving koalas are often unable to escape the intense heat and flames.
Significant roadworks and bushfires can also split a koala habitat, restricting movement and leading to population decline and loss of genetic diversity.