How to spot koalas in the wild

Four tips to spot koalas in Australian National Parks


With international travel back on the horizon, more and more New Zealanders will be heading to Australia. While koalas can be hard to spot here are our four tips to see these incredible creatures in the wild on your next Australian holiday.

Image credit: Jamie Lamb, Getty images

The best time to look for koalas is in the early mornings and late afternoons - when they are more likely to be active. 

1. Look up in the trees

Koalas prefer gum trees so they can hang out and munch on their favourite leaves. It sounds pretty obvious but look for slow and sleepy koalas high up in eucalyptus trees.

Koala in the wild in Gunai Kurnai Country, Australia

Koala asleep in a tree in the wild. Credit: Laura Barry / Unsplash

2. Two parallel scratches mark the spot

Koalas have two thumbs on each hand with long claws that grip tree branches and help climb into their mother’s pouch. Look for two lines parallel at an angle above smaller random scratches on tree trunks for a sign that koalas have climbed the tree. 

3. Look for little fur-balls between branches

Look in the forks of a tree for resting koalas or look up high for round and lumpy shapes in the upper branches of gum trees. If your walk takes you back in the direction you have already come, scan the same trees again because it might just be the different angle that helps you see a koala bottom in a tree.

4.Poop on the ground could mean koalas around

Koala poo is a bullet-like in shape and ranges from dark to light brown in colour when fresh. Look for koala poop at the base of tress for a sign that there could be koalas in the tree above or surround trees.

And if you see a koala climbing, walking on the ground, or jumping to a neighbouring tree consider yourself very lucky.

Koala in the wild in Gunai Kurnai Country, Australia

Koala in the wild in Gunai Kurnai Country, Australia. Credit: Mikaela Egan / Unsplash

How to help protect koalas

  • Choose to see koalas in the wild where they belong.
  • Koala homes need your help. Join a local group and plant koala-friendly trees and use your voice to defend important koala habitats.
  • If you see an injured koala, call the local animal rescue group immediately. If you are unsure who that is, contact a local vet

Holding or cuddling a captive koala even at a zoo or sanctuary is not permitted anywhere in Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory.

Together, we can move the Queensland government in Australia to implement a ban on captive koala cuddles in the sunshine state too.

Wild animal belong in the wild, not in captivity entertaining tourists and visitors. 

See koalas in the wild where they belong

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