In the wild, kangaroos are shy and timid creatures. Koala bears, on the other hand, are notorious for being one of the most adorable animals in the world. With their fuzzy ears and big, brown eyes, it’s no wonder why almost everyone who comes across a picture of a koala bear falls in love with them at first sight. But is there more to these cuddly little critters than meets the eye? Are they really as innocent as they seem? There are several urban legends that tell of dangerous koala bears who have attacked people without any apparent reason. In fact, there are even some people who claim that koalas aren’t actually harmless marsupials but rather savage tree-dwelling beasts that attack humans when provoked. Are these stories true? Do kangaroos and koala bears pose any danger to humans? Let us take a look at some common myths about this iconic animal and separate fact from fiction.
Are Koala Bears Dangerous?
No, Koala bears are not dangerous. In fact, they are very cute and cuddly. The reason why people think that koalas are dangerous is that they do not want to come into contact with them. When in contact with a koala, you should be extra careful as they are wild animals. Never put your hand near their mouths or claws as they might bite you. Always watch where you walk because they may be sleeping in your path and you don’t want to hurt them. When sitting near them, be sure to keep a distance of at least a meter. Even if they look cute and cuddly, always treat them with care and respect.
Why Are Koalas Called “Koala Bears”?
1.Koalas are marsupials, not bears
Koalas are marsupials. They are native to Australia and are best known for their signature sleeping position (you know, the one with the koala holding its paws over its face). Some of the most important characteristics of koalas include their lack of tails, thick fur, and their diet consisting mostly of eucalyptus leaves. They are mostly nocturnal and are primarily found in the eastern and southern regions of Australia. In terms of population size, koalas are listed as “vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List. This is because their numbers are decreasing due to a wide variety of factors, including habitat loss, disease, and roadkill. The koala is an Australian icon, so the fact that their numbers are slowly declining is a cause for concern.
2. They’re called koala bears because they’re bears in color only.
Koalas are known as koala bears because of their black-and-white fur. This is actually where the terms “koala bear” and “koala blanket” come from; the “koala” part is simply referring to the color of the animal. The koala bear/blanket is one of the most popular animals for cuddling and is used for everything from clothing (especially blankets and pajamas) to toys to decor. The koala is also a common national symbol, particularly among Australian sports teams.
3. Koalas share traits with other animals too
While koalas are marsupials, they also have traits that make them resemble other animals. For example, they have very long and sharp claws that allow them to climb trees effectively, much like sloths. They also have very short fur and large bellies (common traits of many marsupials), just like kangaroos. Interestingly, koalas have a very low metabolic rate, which is why they sleep for about 20 hours a day. This is also why koalas don’t have any trouble surviving in their arid environment. The low metabolic rate and relatively low energy requirement play an important role in koalas’ survival.
4. The koala is an Aboriginal word for “no food.”
The etymology of the koala is a really interesting story. The word “koala” is an Aboriginal word for “no food,” which makes perfect sense given that koalas survive almost entirely on eucalyptus leaves, which aren’t exactly a nutrient-dense diet. The Aboriginal tribes who lived in Australia adopted the koalas’ behavior and markings, most likely because they saw the koalas’ sleep-like state as a form of hibernation. In short, the word “koala” came to be because these tribes needed a name to describe the koalas’ behavior.
5. Koalas are also known as possum bears and umbrella-eared panda bears
These are some of the most interesting names given to koalas. The “possum bear” name comes from the koala’s long-held association with the marsupial species known as the common Australian possum. The correlation between the two animals is that both species are nocturnal and feed on eucalyptus leaves. The “umbrella-eared panda bear” name is given because koalas have very large round ears that are reminiscent of the Chinese panda’s.
How To Tell If A Koala Is About To Attack?
- Given the sheer number of koala attacks, it’s extremely important to be able to tell when an animal is about to attack. Fortunately, there are a few telltale signs that indicate an imminent attack.
- Unusual aggression: The most common sign of impending attack is an unusual level of aggression. If a koala is attacking you, it’s probably because it’s feeling threatened or scared.
- Fast breathing: Another telltale sign of an impending attack is fast breathing. If you notice a koala breathing rapidly, it’s likely that it’s preparing to defend itself.
- Raised fur: The next sign of impending attack is raised fur on the koala’s back and shoulders. Raised fur indicates that the animal is feeling aggressive.
How Fast Can A Koala Bear Run?
- The average speed of a koala is about 15 km/h, or 9 mph. This is slower than the average human walking speed, which is about 4.8 km/h.
- But that’s without taking into consideration the fact that koalas have very long, powerful legs. In fact, the average koala’s legs are around one-third longer than an average human’s legs.
- The long and powerful legs allow koalas to jump up to 10 ft high and 6 ft wide. This makes them excellent tree climbers.
- They also happen to be very good at kicking, which is why they’re known to kick humans who are trying to approach them.
- They can even kick with enough force to break a human femur, so you definitely don’t want to get kicked by a koala!
How To Avoid Being Attacked By A Koala?
- As we’ve discussed, you’re far more likely to be attacked by a koala than a shark. However, you don’t have to be afraid if you ever find yourself in an encounter with one. The first thing you should know is that koalas are generally nocturnal.
- This means that they generally only appear during the night. As mentioned, koalas are extremely aggressive, and they are very territorial.
- If you find yourself in an area where koalas live, you should try to avoid any confrontations with them. Remember, koalas don’t have a lot of natural predators, so they don’t have a reason to be afraid of humans.
- At the first sign of a koala, you should slowly back away and leave the area as quickly as possible.
Even though they may look like ferocious bears, koalas are actually gentle creatures who pose no real danger to humans. While they may be aggressive towards people when they are young, most koalas become less aggressive as they age, making it safe to approach and cuddle them once again. If you ever come across a koala in the wild, be patient, remain calm, and try your best not to startle it. These animals are rare and precious creatures, so it is important to treat them with respect. With that being said, there is no need to be afraid of koala bears. They are not aggressive creatures, so if you happen to come across one, you should be able to walk away from the encounter unharmed.