Our Phillip Island day tour includes an afternoon at the amazing Moonlit Sanctuary. So, in the first of our animal spotlight series on some of the incredible animals you can find at Moonlit Sanctuary, we’re going to look at the Koala!
There is one very important lesson to know straight away: Koalas ARE NOT Bears! That’s right! They are actually marsupials, and share many characteristics with other, famous Australian marsupials; especially the Wombat.
Koalas are famous for a number of things, but probably nothing more than how much they love to sleep. A Koala will sleep for around 18-22 hours a day. This is because their diet doesn’t give them much energy at all.
Koalas live in eucalyptus trees, and eat eucalyptus leaves. Eucalyptus leaves are actually poisonous to most animals. However, the Koala has a special fibre digesting organ to allow it to handle the leaves. They can be pretty fussy though! Koalas only eat around 50 of the 700 species of eucalyptus in the country. Still, the eucalyptus leaves do not have a lot of energy in them, meaning Koalas have to eat a lot and sleep a lot. They eat up to 1 kilogram of eucalyptus leaves a day!
Their ability to digest eucalyptus leaves means they can spend pretty much all of their time high up in the trees. This means they avoid any potential predators on the ground.
NAMES AND BABIES
The word ‘Koala’ comes from an Indigenous Australian language, roughly translating to ‘no drink’. This is because Koalas do not actually need to drink water to survive! They get all the moisture they need from munching eucalyptus leaves. However, it is not uncommon to see Koalas drink water – particularly in times of heatwaves and drought.
Baby koalas are called Joeys! Every marsupial baby is actually called a Joey. Baby Koalas spend the first six months of their life in their mother’s pouch. After that, they spend another six months riding along Mum’s back, learning the ways of survival! They are also perhaps the cutest little animal to ever exist.
Koalas can be found at Moonlit Sanctuary, as part of our Phillip Island day tour. Check out our tour options here.