Despite its plump, child-like proportions, fluffy ears, and cute Teddy Bear face, the Koala Bear of Australia is not a bear. Koala is a marsupial cousin to the wombat and the kangaroo.
The koala is very important to Aboriginal culture and mythology. The Dreamtime stories tell of a koala rowing the boat that brought indigenous peoples to the continent. The name "koala" means "no water" in the Dharug language because the indigenous people believed the koala never needed to drink.
The Dreamtime tale tells of a lazy, greedy koala who hoarded water in a secret place while everyone else suffered from drought and thirst. A lyrebird caught the selfish koala hanging by his long tail from a tree limb, gulping mouthfuls from his hidden cache of water. The furious lyrebird set fire to the tree, which dispersed the much-needed moisture and scorched the retreating koala's hind end. To this day, the koala has no tail.
Though it does drink water occasionally, the koala's sole diet of eucalyptus leaves is very high in water content but low in nutrients. With so little food energy, the koala sleeps up to 20 hours a day and spends its waking hours, mostly at night, just eating. The koala also has the most miniature brain per body weight of any mammal, so he's not that quick in the thinking department either. Who needs to be clever when you're so darn cute?
Koalas were spiritually significant to the Aboriginals, but they were also an important food source; however, tribal custom forbade skinning the animal out of respect. Early 20th century Europeans, on the other hand, hunted the koala almost to extinction for its soft fur pelts. The koala is now listed as a vulnerable species but is no longer endangered, and the koala vies with the kangaroo for Australia's most recognized, most loved symbol. If you love all things Aussie, then you love the cuddly koala!
OHM proudly hails the Land Down Under with this beautiful silver Aussie Love bead. The koala's adorable baby face forms the "O" in this expression of LOVE.
The Dreamtime stories of the koala teach us to share fearlessly from our abundance of spirit. May this OHM bead sparkling like a refreshing pool of silvery water on your bracelet daily inspire your own generous heart with AUSSIE LOVE!