Koalas are widely considered to be solitary creatures – a fact that is true in some respects – but they are still known to congregate in small groups, especially when it comes to resting, sleeping, and familial life.
Which begs the question: what exactly is a group of koalas called, and how common are these groups within the animal kingdom?
What Is A Group Called?
When a group of koalas congregate together, they can be referred to as a ‘mob’. These mobs can refer to any sized group, but generally consist of around 12 animals.
Why Are They Called A ‘Mob’?
The term ‘mob’ is used to describe many types of marsupials, including kangaroos and wallabies.
This is generally considered to be a regional term used commonly in Australia and the surrounding territories, and doesn’t have any specific reason regarding the nature of the koala.
Are Koalas Solitary?
Koalas certainly have a reputation for being solitary, somewhat ‘cranky’ creatures, and in most cases do spend much of their adult lives alone.
They are also quite territorial animals, meaning they will defend what they see as their turf from rival koalas, pests, and potential predators. Breaches of this territory tend to lead to aggressiveness on the part of the koala.
How Can Koalas Defend Themselves?
If a rival koala, or indeed some form of predator or threat breaches their territory, koalas have been known to turn aggressive very quickly indeed.
While they are small in stature, and have limited capability when it comes to teeth, they do have sharp, capable claws, which they use to climb trees and strip eucalyptus branches – which should suggest how sharp they can be.
Their teeth are also relatively sharp and dangerous, despite them being herbivores. This means that predators, or humans wanting to pet a wild koala, would do well to be careful and avoid those deceivingly sharp jaws.
They have also been known to chase potential predators or rivals, showing surprising bursts of speed when the moment demands it.
So, Are Koalas Aggressive?
Despite their capability for aggression, they are not naturally this way – at least not in their neutral states of being. As a rule, they are naturally shy and solitary creatures, who are more likely to shy away from conflict than engage in any serious attack.
However, they can be quick to turn aggressive when they need to, although this usually occurs when they are placed in a desperate situation where attack is the only option.
What Preys On Koalas?
Like most creatures, the koala has certain predators that pose a constant risk to their safety.
These carnivorous wild dogs are pack animals, making them more than capable of rounding up and overwhelming numerous species – koalas included.
Pythons are ground and tree animals, meaning that they pose a constant threat to koalas, who spend much of their lives clung to trees. Koalas need to be ever vigilant, as pythons can be both quick, strong, and deadly.
These large monitor lizards generally feed on dead animal carcasses, but have been known to attack and eat live prey when the situation is dire enough.
For this reason, koalas have to be vigilant, especially seeing as goannas are more than capable of climbing trees.
Wedge Tailed Eagle
These large birds of prey are capable of preying on kangaroos, so koalas require very little effort. These birds have sharp claws, sharp pointed beaks, and are incredibly large and strong for a species of eagle.
Just like the wedge tailed eagle, powerful owls are more than capable of monitoring and picking off koalas, making them a constant nocturnal threat.
Do They Have Social Periods?
Despite being relatively solitary creatures who like their own company, they do engage in several distinct social occasions, wherein they will gather in their mobs.
Koalas are also known to engage in group hugs with other koalas within their mob.
Experts are not quite sure why this occurs, but investigations suggest that it is for warmth, safety, and also as a means of showing and receiving affection – something that they have been proven to require, like many species of animals.
This is one of many aspects of their existence that has led to them becoming ‘pin-up’ cute animals amongst animal lovers and experts alike – and suggests that perhaps they are not quite as solitary and cranky as previously imagined.
They have also been known to congregate in groups during specific feeding sessions.
This will usually be when they are in relatively unfamiliar territory, or if there is a present threat of danger, and just ensures that predators are less likely to attack – at least without being spotted first.
Koalas have been known to sleep for around 18 hours a day, which can make them incredibly vulnerable to predators more than happy to exploit this fact.
For this reason, many koalas will generally congregate in their mobs during these extensive periods of sleep, ensuring that they remain safe and protected from any predators who might be tempted to strike.
Of course, mothers can often be seen with their young clutched to their bodies. This familial life is common amongst many animals, marsupials included, and is a way of nurturing, teaching, and protecting their peers from attacks and injuries.
Koalas will usually develop a more solitary nature when they reach maturity, but until that point, they will reside with their families as much as possible.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about koalas, and what they are known as when in a group.
Koalas are fascinating and widely misunderstood creatures, but are quickly becoming firm favorites among animal lovers all around the world, thanks in part to their loveable appearance, and the fact that they are just so full of surprises.