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Big Trip Blog Bigtripblog is a multimedia travel experience capturing the adventures of Kevin and Valerie during their one year trip around the world.

Hanging with the Patients at the Koala Hospital

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 19 June 2007 | Views [2080]

Val: The koala is a ridiculous animal. It looks like a plush toy, but it could rip your face off in no time. Yep, the koala is high on our list of animals we expect and are expected to see in Australia. Every time we pass a koala crossing sign on the road we keep our eyes peeled for those little gray furry butts in the trees. Almost as good as a sighting in the wild is Port Macquarie’s (and the world’s only) koala hospital. Here you can see koalas do what they do best: sleep (20 hours a day!) and eat eucalyptus leaves from just a few feet away.

Most are recovering from accident injuries or severe Chlamydia, while others who are blind or aging will lazily spend the rest of their days there. The place is pretty impressive considering it needs $15,000 per month to operate, and does so only by donations! Years ago a wealthy German woman passed away and left her entire estate to the hospital, thus helping it grow into what it is today. The staff write the book on how koalas are to be treated in refuges in Australia and zoos all over the world.

We listened in on a short guided tour and picked up a few fun facts. Koala “bear” is a misnomer because they’re marsupials and not related to bears at all. Some European called them that a long time ago, since it was the closest thing he thought it resembled. They don’t need to drink any water because they get all of their liquid from eucalyptus leaves (the only thing they eat), so “koala” is an Aborigine word meaning “little drink.”

Check out our photos and a short video from the koala hospital!

Tags: ambassador van, the great outdoors

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