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Koala Spotting Tips

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A Tale of Stiff Necks and Butt Shots…

Cute Koala Close Up by MaryseJansenArt Wildlife Photography
‘Cute Koala Close Up’
This photo is a portrait of a Koala in the wild!

If you want to go koala spotting and are hoping to photograph a koala in the wild, prepare yourself for a stiff neck and a ‘butt-shot’! That’s on a good day!

On most days you’ll come away with a stiff neck only…

Koalas are not easy to find, even professional koala spotters miss them most of the time! They are well camouflaged and usually spend their day high up in a tree, away from danger! Most of the day they sleep, tucked away in the fork of their chosen tree. Koalas need a lot of sleep because they feed solely on Eucalyptus leaves and these are not very nutritious so they don’t have a lot of energy.

Looking down, not up

Some people say that, to prevent that stiff neck, looking down rather then up can also give you some clues. When you’ve found droppings under a tree or scratch marks on a tree trunk it may be time to look up and see if you can find a koala up there!

So what are we looking for here? Scratch marks usually look like pock marks, made by the tips of their claws. Sometimes you also see rake-marks, which may be made when the koala loses its grip, perhaps when it is in a hurry.

Scratch Marks from a Koala onn a tree trunk by Maryse Jansen
Scratch Marks

Scratch marks are great indicators of a tree being visited by koalas, but of course no guarantee that there is one there right now!

Koala Droppings by Maryse Jansen
Koala Droppings

The droppings of a koala look a bit like olives and they smell like Eucalyptus, since Eucalyptus leaves are all they eat! When you find fresh droppings on the ground, be sure to look up! In my experience, you don’t come across them often. Most of the time they will disappear in the undergrowth as the koala will prefer a tree that is a bit away from the path. But when you do see some droppings on the path you’d better take a good look around!

Termite nests can look like koalas

The next hurdle is that you need to learn to tell the difference between a termite nest and a koala!

Termite Nest in a tree by MaryseJansen
Termite Nest
Koala In Tree by Maryse Jansen

As you can see in the photos, from a distance it is sometimes hard to tell which is which! It’s a good idea to bring a pair of binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens to make sure!

But, after paying close attention to all the clues and putting up with your sore neck then…. finally, you’re in luck, you see one! It is such a special moment! Of course you will want to capture this moment!

The perfect shot

Chances are your photo will look a lot like this:

Koala In Tree 2 by Maryse Jansen

The perfect butt-shot!!

And even a butt-shot is worth taking, after all, you’ve spotted an endangered animal!

Very occasionally you may find one that’s on the move or just a bit lower to the ground, in a young tree. With a little bit of luck, a lot of stamina and perhaps a sixth sense sometimes, I’ve seen quite a few koalas in more flattering positions.

I cherish those unique moments and I am building up a collection of images of wild koalas! If you’d like to purchase ‘Cute Koala Close Up’, or would like to view more of my koala images, please check out the ‘Save the Koala Collection’ in my shop.

To learn more about koalas, check out: 9 Interesting Facts About Koalas!

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