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Why do koalas sleep so much?

Why do koalas sleep so much?

Koalas are known for their sleepy habits – catching more than the average animal in z’s. But is this true? Let’s bust some myths – do koalas spend all of their time sleeping and if so why do they sleep so much?!

Yes koalas sleep a lot!

Koalas sleep between 18 and 22 hours out of 24 – that is a fair amount of sleep and actually a huge portion of their life!

Let’s compare this to other animals:

  • An elephant is one example of an animal which doesn’t sleep much – maybe between two and four hours because they spend a big portion of their day eating to fuel that huge body.
  • A lion on the other hand, being part of the cat family, spends about twenty one hours sleeping and resting to conserve energy for hunting and travelling.
  • What about kangaroos sleeping habits? They sneak in possibly six to ten hours per day. While kangaroos spend plenty of time resting and grazing, because they are on the ground, they need to be careful of predators such as dingoes or packs of wild dogs.
  • A koala traditionally stays in the treetops pretty free from harm and can afford to snooze a lot up there in the fresh air.
Spencer catching some z’s

Why do koalas sleep a lot?

That’s an interesting question. Koalas live on a sole diet of eucalyptus leaves and whilst they have a unique digestive system that allows them to break down these leaves, it takes a lot of energy to do it. Eucalyptus leaves are extremely poisonous to most other animals and humans, they’re also low in nutrients. Therefore, koalas don’t have huge amounts of energy.

Adult koalas can consume between 500g and 1kg of eucalyptus leaves every day but don’t need much water because the eucalyptus leaves contain up to 50% water.

That said, koalas can and do move about and can actually move quite fast when they need to – as you might have seen in any of our release videos. In fact koalas can move up to 30kmph.

Koalas are mostly nocturnal but can be seen moving about in the day if they need to, otherwise in the wild they spend most of their time curled up, high in the treetops.

Orion’s best impression of a koala ball

When koalas are awake what are they doing?

Mostly eating! But they might be dispersing from their mothers, finding new habitat, mating and moving from tree to tree – jumping if the tree is close enough or climbing down and moving on the ground.

Do you want more interesting facts about koalas? Check our news every month for more updates! You might also like to check our our new Joey Buddies monthly subscription for big and little kids!

Don’t forget our YouTube channel too!

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Friends of the Koala are immensely proud and honoured to lead the way in koala care in NSW.