noun \kə-ˈwä-lə, kō-ˈä-\

: an Australian animal that has thick gray fur, large hairy ears, sharp claws for climbing, and no tail

Full Definition of KOALA

:  an Australian arboreal marsupial (Phascolarctos cinereus) that has a broad head, large hairy ears, dense gray fur, and sharp claws and feeds on eucalyptus leaves —called also koala bear

Illustration of KOALA

Origin of KOALA

Dharuk (Australian aboriginal language of the Port Jackson area) gula, gulawanʸ
First Known Use: 1803


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus).—Anthony Mercieca—The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers

Tree-dwelling marsupial (Phascolarctos cinereus) of coastal eastern Australia. About 24–33 in. (61–85 cm) long and tailless, the koala has a stout, pale gray or yellowish body; broad face; big, round, leathery nose; small, yellow eyes; and fluffy ears. Its feet have strong claws and some opposable digits. The koala feeds only on eucalyptus leaves. The single offspring remains in the rearward-opening pouch for up to seven months. Koala populations have dwindled seriously, formerly because they were killed for their fur and now because of loss of habitat and the spread of disease.


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