Sick, injured, orphaned or dead koalas

What you should do

Safety warning: do not touch a wild koala.

A wet and dirty bottom (cystitis).

A wet and dirty bottom (cystitis).

Infected or inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis).

Infected or inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis).

Sitting at the base of a tree for an extended period of time.

Sitting at the base of a tree for an extended period of time.

Step 1: call a koala ambulance

To report a sick or injured koala in Queensland, please call 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).

Step 2: care for the sick or injured koala before the ambulance arrives

If you have dogs

  • Restrain your dog and keep it away from the koala.
  • If your neighbours have dogs, let them know that a koala is in the area and get them to restrain their dogs as well.

When a koala is on the ground

  • If it is safe to do so, approach the koala from behind and place a washing basket (or similar item with ventilation) over the koala.
  • Put something heavy on top of the basket to stop the koala moving away and climbing a tree.
  • Ensure the koala is left in a quiet and stress free environment.

When a koala is stuck in a fence

  • Do not attempt to assist the koala if it is safe.
  • If a koala is under immediate threat of being seriously injured, you can take  action if it is safe to do so. An appropriate action may be to cover the koala with a very thick towel around the back and head and support the body while cutting the fence.
  • Provide some shade for the koala if it is in the sun.
  • Stay with the koala until help arrives.

Frequently asked questions

What do I do if there is a koala in my backyard?

Step 1: Lock up your dog

If you have a dog, restrain it and keep it well away from the koala. A koala faced with a barking dog can suffer stress, which can lead to sickness and the stress-related disease Chlamydia. If your neighbours have dogs, please get them to restrain their dog as well.

If you live in a koala habitat area, restrain, tie-up or 'den' your dog at night time. Denning your dog means placing your dog in a secure area or room within your house, laundry, garage or enclosed veranda, so it is out of reach of nocturnal, native wildlife. Denning also helps dogs that are prone to excessive barking and can prevent destructive behaviour by limiting their interactions with native wildlife and chewable items.

Contact RSPCA Queensland (07 3426 9999) for more information about denning your dog.

Step 2: Observe but keep your distance to determine whether it is need of assistance.

Observe the koala to see if it has any signs or symptoms of sickness or injury. Try to view the koala from a distance so your presence does not cause any unnecessary alarm or stress.

Step 3: Call for help (if the koala requires assistance).

Report an injured koala on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).

Can the koala be moved?

Only sick or injured koalas will be moved as the process of relocation is stressful and can cause the koala to become sick.

Koalas have established home ranges and the relocation of a koala to a new area can sometimes do more harm than good. Studies show koalas that have been relocated to nearby habitat, often attempt to make their way back to their home range. With numerous roads and backyards to cross, they are faced with many unfamiliar threats.

Koalas are generally aware of potential threats in their home range, making it a safer option to leave a healthy koala in familiar surroundings.

What if a bird is swooping a koala in my backyard?

On occasion, birds will swoop koalas. This is a natural interaction that usually occurs during the breeding season when birds are nesting. Eventually, the situation will be resolved without human intervention by either the birds moving on when they realise the koala will not move, or the koala moves to another tree. If there are visible injuries, please call 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).

Photo of a koala in a palm tree.

Koala in a palm tree.

When are koalas most active?

Koalas are mainly nocturnal (active at night). However, they will move around during the day, especially during the breeding season (August to October).

Do koalas only climb eucalypt trees?

Koalas are known to climb many tree types other than eucalypt species. Palm, banana and leopard trees are a few tree species koalas will climb to seek shade or rest in when they are travelling to another food tree or area.