The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is one of Australia’s most distinctive and loved native animals. The tree-dwelling marsupial is highly recognisable, with a compact, tailless body coloured silver-grey to brown, large tufted round ears, and a flat spoon-like nose. The Koala can grow to 60–85 centimetres in length and weigh up to around 15 kilograms, and those in the northern part of its broad range tend to be smaller than those in the south.This endemic species occurs naturally in eucalypt-dominated areas from Queensland down Australia’s eastern seaboard to Victoria. Populations have also been introduced onto some islands along that coast, as well as onto Kangaroo Island and to the Murray River and Adelaide regions in South Australia. The herbivorous Koala is a specialist feeder that almost exclusively consumes eucalypt leaves – up to one kilogram of these per day.
Cover illustration: © Elise Martinson, www.elisemartinson.com