Koalas are unmistakable with their large round head, big furry ears, round brown eyes facing forward on the head (like ours!) and stout round body. Koalas do not have tails. Northern koalas have soft, light grey fur but koalas in Victoria and South Australia have thicker reddish-brown fur and insulating layers of fat to protect them from the harsher climate.
Queensland koalas are smaller, weighing in at 5-6 kg for females and 6-8 kg for males. In Victoria females are up to 8 kg and males up to 12 kg.
All koalas have white fur on the chest, inner arms, ears and bottom. Their nose and palms of their paws* have no fur. Bottoms are dappled to provide camouflage when roosting high in gum trees.
Their coats act as perfect rain coats and in heavy weather they will curl into a ball, bottom wedged into a tree fork, joey safely tucked inside and ride out the storm quite comfortably. In hot weather they can be seen dangling limbs from a tree branch to keep cool.
Koalas rely heavily on other senses rather than vision. Good hearing and an incredible strong sense of smell helps them detect predators, other koalas and helps them determine which koala food trees and leaves are most palatable and least toxic to their systems.
They have strong arms and legs with large feet and sharp claws for rapid vertical climbing. The fore paws have two opposable thumbs (and three fingers) for a good grip on tree trunks while strong back legs push them rapidly upwards. The back paws have no claw on the big toe and the 2nd and 3rd toes are fused as a grooming claw.
Interesting fact: Koalas have individual finger prints. Gorillas, orang-utans, chimpanzees and koalas are the only animals, besides humans, to have this unique feature.
Nb. Both images are koala front paws