|Weight||4 - 15 kg (9 - 33 lbs), averaging 11 kg (24 lbs)*|
|Length||600 - 850 mm (23.6 - 33.5 in)|
|Tail Length||vestigial, hidden by fur|
*Females can be 50% smaller than males. *Size varies by latitude - smaller in north
Shaped like a teddy bear, with small compact body, short limbs, and large rounded ears
Short, dense, woolly fur
Adaptations for specialized Eucalyptus diet: (Grand & Barboza 2001)
Eyes with slits of pupils vertical rather then horizontal as in other marsupials (Jackson 2003)
Marsupial pouch in koala opens towards the bottom of the pouch, facing outwards (not up or back) (Australian Koala Foundation 2010):
Hand (Weisbecker & Sánchez-Villagra 2006):
All toes with long, sharp claws except first digit of hind foot.
Males: 50% heavier, with wider face (Jackson 2003)
Female: smaller, weighs less (Jackson 2003)
Reasons for large body size of males (Ellis & Bercovitch 2011):
Broad, high-cusped cheek teeth for chewing fibrous leaves
Cheek pouches (Sonntag 1921) (Tuttle 1975)
Ear region highly specialized in koalas and wombats (Szalay 1994)
Fingerprints of koalas and humans are strikingly similar (Henneberg et al. 1997)
Small brain: 0.2% body weight; one of smallest in any marsupial
Highly sensitive ears help koalas detect low pitched bellows of other koalas.
Their second and third toes are partly fused and wrapped with a single sheath of skin but each toe retains a claw.
Image credit: © Epstula from Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Australian Koala Foundation (2010)
Ellis & Bercovitch (2011)
Grand & Barboza (2001)
Henneberg et al. (1997)
Lanyon & Sanson (1986)
Lee & Martin (1988)
Louys et al. (2009)
Weisbecker & Sánchez-Villagra (2006)
Wilson and Mittermeier 2015