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Wild Koala Day

"Oh, I love you, I still care
All my affection's there
I will walk with you to the end of the passage
My little koala type bear
Little koala type bear"

~ Ode to a Koala Bear, Paul McCartney, 1983

The Australian koala, whose scientific designation (Phascolarctos cinerus) means "ash-gray pocket-bear" is not a bear at all, but a marsupial, closely related to the wombat! Its common name derives from the Dharug language, meaning "no water", from the mistaken idea that koalas can remain perpetually in the treetops without needing to descend for water. Their diet, which consists primarily of eucalyptus trees, does provide a significant amount of water content, though with limited nutritional and caloric content, and results in a largely sedentary lifestyle. Koalas may sleep up to 20 hours and spend only 15 minutes a day on social behavior! This tartan's colours evoke the dark and light grey of the koala's coat colour, with white for speckles or patches on the rump and chest area and inside ears; black for their nose; pink for the skin colour around the nose and mouth, dark brown for their eye colour, and green for their favourite eucalyptus leaves. 🐨

The Australian koala, known for its teddy-bear like appearance, and is a favourite animal throughout the world.  The koala is found in coastal areas of the mainland's eastern and southern regions, inhabiting Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. It is easily recognisable by its stout, tailless body and large head with round, fluffy ears and large, spoon-shaped nose. 


They are predominantly active at night and spend most of their waking hours feeding. They typically eat and sleep in the same tree, possibly for as long as a day.  On very hot days, a koala may climb down to the coolest part of the tree which is cooler than the surrounding air. The koala hugs the tree to lose heat without panting. During cold, wet periods, it curls itself into a tight ball to conserve energy.


Adult males communicate with loud bellows—low pitched sounds that consist of snore-like inhalations and resonant exhalations that sound like growls.  Koalas may bellow at any time of the year, particularly during the breeding season, when it serves to attract females and possibly intimidate other males.  Female koalas bellow, though more softly, in addition to making snarls, wails, and screams.  Young koalas squeak when in distress. As they get older, the squeak develops into a "squawk" produced both when in distress and to show aggression. 


Koalas eat around half a kilogram of eucalyptus leaves a day. They’re very picky, tending to choose around 30 of the 600 varieties of eucalyptus trees out there.


Notes from the Scottish Register of Tartans:


The Koala tartan was designed to celebrate the beauty of the Australian native marsupial, a much loved Australian national icon. The tartan colours are intended to represent the Koala: dark and light grey for the majority of their coat colour with white speckles or patches on the rump and chest area and inside ears; black for their nose; pink for the skin colour around the nose and mouth, only seen on close inspection; dark brown for their eye colour and green for the eucalyptus leaves which is their main diet and dwelling tree.


For more interesting facts about the koala, click the koala!