Eucalyptus and Koalas

Eucalyptus and Koalas

I spent part of my youth in Southern California, not far from the coast. There was a lot of agriculture in this area when I was a kid and eucalyptus trees were everywhere. They were grown primarily as windbreaks to protect all kinds of orchards and farmland. The trees also shed their bark which gives them an interesting appearance, though I confess one of my favorite things to do was to peel long strips off the trunks. I can remember wondering if the trees itched and if it felt good to have the bark pulled off. I suppose that lends itself to the philosophical question, Do trees feel? I certainly don’t have an answer to that one, but it’s an intriguing question. As for the eucalyptus tree, I’m also intrigued by the fact that koalas live on a diet primarily of eucalyptus leaves. In fact, these marsupials barely need to drink water because the trees are water guzzlers themselves. 

Here’s a fabulous, 6-minute compilation video of koalas in eucalyptus trees. You’ll hear some of the sounds the marsupials make. This is an adorable 2-minute video in which the owner tries to get her baby koala to play in the tree, but instead the koala wants ‘mama’! Here’s the sweetest 1-minute video of a baby koala ‘meeting mum’ for the first time. Pouch-living at its best.

FunFacts about Eucalyptus and Koalas: (Source) (Source)  

  • Basic Information about eucalyptus, quote: Eucalyptus (plural eucalypti, eucalyptuses or eucalypts) is a diverse genus of flowering trees and shrubs (including a distinct group with a multiple-stem mallee growth habit) in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia, and include Eucalyptus regnans, the tallest known flowering plant on Earth. Australia is covered by 92,000,000 hectares (227,336,951 acres) of eucalypt forest, comprising three quarters of the area covered by native forest. (Source)
  • Basic Information about Koalas, quote: The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus, or, inaccurately, koala bear) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae and its closest living relatives are the wombats, which comprise the family Vombatidae. (Source)
  • A Koala Bear isn’t a bear at all, but a marsupial, an animal with a pouch.
  • There are over 700 species of eucalyptus and most are native to Australia. A small number can be found in Indonesia, New Guinea and the Philippines. Only 9 species of eucalyptus are not native to Australia.
  • Koalas live in Australia, in the eucalyptus forests along the east coast states of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
  • Eucalyptus are distributed throughout temperate regions of the world but have limited cold tolerance.
  • Koalas only eat the leaves of eucalyptus trees. They rarely drink water since they get what they need from eating the leaves.
  • The nature of Eucalyptus has many potential uses. Eucalyptus oil can be used for cleaning, as a fragrance, as an antimicrobial and as an insecticide. Because the trees take in a lot of water, they can be used to drain swamps which helps prevent malaria. They are fast-growing which provides wood for a variety of uses.
  • Koalas are arboreal meaning they spend most of their time in trees. They sleep during the day and are awake at night.
  • On warm days, Eucalyptus forests are often shrouded in a self-creating mist or haze.
  • Koalas live between 13-18 years, weigh between 15-30 pounds, and prefer to live alone, not in groups.
  • Eucalyptus ranges in size from shrubs to very tall trees.
  • Koala BearsKoalas have 2 thumbs on each of their front claws.
  • Nearly all eucalyptus are evergreens.
  • Koalas have sharp teeth for chewing leaves.
  • Eucalyptus leaves are covered in oil glands.
  • The flowers of the eucalyptus have fluffy stamens which can be cream, yellow, white red or pink.
  • A mother Koala is pregnant for about 35 days and her baby is called a joey or cub.
  • A baby Koala is born blind, earless and hairless. It’s the size of a jelly bean when it’s born and makes its way to its mother’s pouch all on its own.
  • For the first six months, the baby Koala will stay hidden in the mother’s pouch. During that time, as they drink their mother’s milk, their hair will grow and their eyes and ears will develop.
  • At 30 weeks, the baby Koala will begin to eat eucalyptus leaves.
  • At 12 months old, the baby Koala will leave its mother to find its own place to live.

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November Winners: Mary C., Debra G., Merrie W., Candy L.!!!

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32 thoughts on “Eucalyptus and Koalas

  1. I’ve seen koalas at the zoo eating eucalyptus leaves. They were so cute although they were mostly hidden in the leaves and didn’t move around much.

  2. Eucalyptus and Koalas both make me think Australia. I saw lots of both each time I’ve visited. Have you seen the pictures of wet koalas? It makes them look terrifying especially if you can see their sharp teeth!

    • Oh my gosh Tamara. You are so right!!! I got curious and looked up a photo. Certainly not the adorable cuties when they are dry.

  3. I enjoyed watching the videos. Love the pictures! I have always like Koalas even as a kid. I think the are cute and always wanted one. I used to use eucalyptus oil for fragrance.

  4. Koalas only eat the leaves of certain eucalyptus trees. They are very fussy.

    Koalas also smell really bad. You think they would smell of eucalyptus but they really don’t.

    They are also hard to spot out in the wild. Big day time sleepers.

    • Mary,
      How great to have your input since you’re Australian! Nowhere in my research did I read about koalas smelling bad. And you’re right. You’d think if they ate eucalyptus they’d have a clean, fresh smell, lol!

      Caris,
      Buckeye, Arizona USA

  5. They are so cute. I loved the videos (the cows reaction yams funny and the way little Morton kept climbing her leg instead of the tree)
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. I have a soft spot for koalas. They seem so soft and cuddly, something you would want to snuggle up to when you are having a bad day, providing comfort and maybe elicit a smile. My niece loves eucalyptus and mint candles.

  7. On my goodness!! Are those videos not one of the most adorable things you have seen. I so needed this this morning!! It just made my day better. Don’t you just want to go pet one. They & panda bears are the cutest. I would love to hold one but there is no place I know that you can. They seemed so calm while people were petting them. Eucalyptus is pretty but I’m allergic to it so I can’t have it in the house. That’s how my luck goes lol. Have a great day:):)

  8. Aww, just loved the videos, especially the baby in mama’s pouch. They are just so adorable. Love the flowers the trees get-so pretty. AZ

  9. The koalas are adorable. I liked the baby one meeting Mom. It was interesting that they rarely drink water but get it from the eucalyptus plants. The flowers on those trees are so pretty. However, I cannot be around eucalyptus because it makes my bronchial tubes close up and I can’t breathe.

  10. Hahahahaha, I just watched “Scooby-doo – Legend of the Vampire” with my teens ( about the 10,000th time). It is set in Australia and has a red gum tree with a koala that bonks Scooby on the nose. Perfect timing on this blog!!!

  11. I love all the pictures. We grew up in Southern California and eucalyptus trees were an everyday thing. When the Santa Ana’s blew, we knew we’d find branches all over and that at least one of the trees sheltering the remains of the orange groves that our houses were built on would have fallen. The smell of the oil still lingers in my memory.

  12. I have always loved koalas, they are so cute. It was interesting to see eucalyptus flowers for the first time. I didn’t realize they had flowers or that they were so pretty and unusual looking. Thank you for the information.

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