Feb 11, 2009




How the koala got its name...

The word koala is an Aboriginal word meaning "no water". This refers to the koala's ability to obtain most of its moisture requirements from gum leaves.


Koalas similarities to a teddy bear often gave them the name "koala bear", but there is no relation to the bear family. Koalas have soft thick fur often grey or brown in colour with a white belly, a large hairless nose, round ears and almost no tail. They have only one pair of lower incisors in the lower jaw and only one well-developed pair in the upper jaw (there are no canines), though if they are sufficiently provoked by an over friendly human the Koala will not hesitate to use them.


Koalas sharp, strong, curved claws , long toes and strong grip enable them to spend most of their time asleep in a fork of a eucalyptus tree. At night they move about and feed, most of their activity takes place just after sunset.

Koala asleepKoalas are skillful climbers, getting up tree trunks by clasping them with the sharp claws of their 'hands' and then bringing the hindfeet up together in a bounding movement. When walking on a branch koalas grip with the first toe of the hindfoot and with the first two digits of the 'hand' opposed to the other three.


Koalas only feed on leaves of certain types of eucalypt. Eucalyptus leaves have a very high fibre and low protein content. They contain strong smelling oils, phenolic compounds and sometimes even cyanide precursors which makes them unpleasant or even poisonous for most mammals. A fully grown koala eats a bit more than one kilogram of leaves a day. To cope with this diet, koalas had to make several adaptations, most notably develop an enlarged caesum - first part of the large intestine, in which microbial fermentation takes place.


Koalas in the forest live a solitary life, with their population well spread out. Breeding occurs in summer; most mature females produce only one young each year. This may weigh less than half a kilogram at birth and will remain in the pouch for the first six months, then it will spend a further six months riding around on its mothers back. After leaving the pouch, the koalas feed on a mixed diet of milk and leaves, they are not fully weaned until they are 12 months old. When fully grown a koala measures from 64 to 76 cm and will weigh around 7 to 14 kilograms.

Where to find koalas...

If you are patient and have a good eye, koalas can be found all down the east coast from Townsville to Melbourne. If you wish to see them in the wild there are certain parks where the rangers mark sightings each day, i.e Tidbinbilla wildlife reserve in Australian Capital Territory.

Boomerangs are curved pieces of wood used as weapons and sport equipment. Boomerangs come in many shapes and sizes depending on their geographic or tribal origins and intended function. The most recognisable type is the returning boomerang, which is a throwing stick that travels in a elliptical path and returns to its point of origin when thrown correctly. Although non-returning boomerangs (throw sticks or kylie's) were used as weapons, returning boomerangs have only ever been used for leisure or recreation. Modern returning boomerangs can be almost any size or shape and are made from a variety materials. Davro Boomerangs, based in Scotland, produce traditionally shaped two winged wooden boomerangs, however an example of a more modern approach are Rangs Magic boomerangs which are tri-blade in design and made from specialist foams and polymers. Rangs Magic boomerangs are made in the UK and are sold internationally and are now the largest selling boomerang brand in the World.

Historical evidence also points to the use of non-returning boomerangs by the ancient Egyptians, Native Americans of Californiaand Arizona, and inhabitants of southern India for killing birds, rabbits, and other small animals.[1] Indeed, some boomerangs were not thrown at all, but were used in hand-to-hand combat by Indigenous Australians.[2]

Boomerangs can be variously used as hunting weapons, percussive musical instruments, battle clubs, fire-starters, decoys for hunting waterfowl, and as recreational play toys. The smallest boomerang may be less than 10 cm from tip-to-tip, and the largest over 2 meters in length.[3] Tribal boomerangs may be inscribed and/or painted with designs meaningful to its maker. Most boomerangs seen today are of the tourist or competition sort, and are almost invariably of the returning type.