Backyard Buddies

Photo: Alyson Boyer


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Koalas might look like a bear and have the nickname 'Koala bear', but they are marsupials.

The closest living relative to the Koala is the wombat.

Newborn Koalas are so little they could fit on your thumbnail. Koala joeys stay in their mothers’ pouch for about seven months.

Koalas are perfectly built for climbing trees. They have rough paw pads with sharp claws which help them grip tree trunks and branches.

Koalas live in eucalypt forests in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

Koalas are fussy eaters, eating only a few types of eucalypt leaves. They eat up to one kilogram of leaves each day.

You could think that eucalypt leaves make Koalas drunk, because they seem so dozy. This is a myth - Koala food has little energy, so they rest through the day, saving their energy to look for food at night.

The Aboriginal name for the Koala means ‘no drink animal’. They get most of the water they need from their food or from dew or rainwater on leaves. During drought people have seen Koalas come down from their trees to drink.

Koalas can live up to 18 years. They breed once a year, usually between September and March.

You can look after Koalas in your own backyard

Koalas love living in the same places we do. Lush coastal forests are just what they need, but humans are building more and more houses in their habitats. Many people end up with Koalas in their backyards.

In 2012 Koalas in eastern Australia were classified as vulnerable and added to the Federal threatened species list. There’s a lot that you can do to be a buddy to a Koala.

Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies— to give you tips to help.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The Koala is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like Koalas, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what Koalas do and do not like.

Koalas love:

Native trees – they are the safest place for a Koala. Try to keep large trees in your backyard and plant replacements.

Large areas with lots of trees – so that they can move safely between trees.

Quiet time – for sleeping during the day to save their energy.

But they don't like:

Dogs – which frighten or even attack them if allowed to roam free.

Garden pesticides – which can harm Koalas if they absorb chemicals through their paws or from the leaves they eat.

Traffic – Koalas take their time as they cross the road, so drive slowly in Koala areas.

Be a Koala buddy

Try to:


Don't be surprised if:

Adopt this buddy

Find out more about your buddies

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