Native Animals in The Garden: Koalas

Story: Native Animals in The Garden: Koalas
Episode: 17
Presenter: Trevor Cochrane
Air Date: 11 December 2021

Koalas are incredible animals that are endemic to Australia. Trevor learns ways that we can help protect them.

  • Koalas are folivores, meaning they feed on a diet that is nearly entirely made up of leaves from the Eucalyptus genus, although occasionally will eat non-Eucalypt species such as Brush Box.
  • Eucalyptus leaves are not only very low in nutrition but also toxic to most animals. So to cope with this diet, nature had equipped Koalas with a specialised digestive system that breaks down the toxins.
  • Planting more of these trees along fences and creek lines will allow a safer linkage to parks and bushlands.
  • Koalas receive over 90% of hydration from the eucalyptus leaves. They will only drink when there isn’t enough moisture in the leaves, like during a drought.
  • However, if there is particularly hot weather, you can place a container of water for the Koala at the base of a known home tree.
  • Koalas can swim, however, some have drowned in swimming pools before, because often they aren’t able to climb back out. A good trick is to tie a sturdy rope to a tree or post at the side of the pool, placing the end into the top of the water.
  • It’s also good to try to have a Koala friendly fence, as they need to be able to escape quickly if a dog is chasing them or if they feel threatened in any way.
  • Try to avoid garden sprays, pesticides, and creosote. Koalas sometimes eat soil and can absorb these poisons through the pads on their feet or through eating the leaves of trees.
  • Don’t try to relocate a Koala yourself, they are extremely faithful to their home range and will attempt to return to the area.

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