Koala Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Koala Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

The koalas’ calm and sensitive nature is the main reason that people choose them for tattoos. However, koala tattoos have expansive meanings and design choices each with its own explanation. Therefore, its uses in symbolisation and style are certainly not limited. 

In this article, we will be discussing some of the many meanings and designs of koala tattoos, as well as offering some insight into the koala’s nature and why it represents what it does. 

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What is the History of Koala Tattoos?

The history of koala tattoos is relatively unknown, however, animal tattoos in general (not just cats and dogs), are prevalent. Often, humans have a natural affinity for animals and feel comfortable and happy in their presence. Therefore, it makes sense that animals would be used in tattoos. 

Koalas are native to Australia and the last surviving mammal in the Phascolarctidae family. Due to this, their closest relatives are now wombats, from the Vombatidae family. The koala’s diet is mainly made up of trees and leaves, both of which lack calories and nutritional value. This is why koalas spend the majority of their time sedentary – they actually sleep for around 20 hours per day.

Furthermore, they are asocial animals. Generally, adult koalas will only tolerate other adult koalas during mating, for which they will spend around 15 minutes of their 4-hour awake-time socialising. The majority of koala bonding happens between the mother and her offspring. Baby koalas (joeys) will stay in their mother’s pouch for 6 to 7 months and are fully weaned after 1 year. 

Read on to find out how the koala’s personality relates to koala tattoo meanings. 

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What Do Koala Tattoos Symbolise?

Due to their sedentary nature, koala tattoos represent an overall sense of calmness, and due to their devotion to their young, they symbolise kindness and a caring nature. However, with this being said, koalas are also very territorial and will fight to protect themselves and their family when threatened. For this reason, protection and trust are also common symbols of koala tattoos. 

Depending on the style of koala tattoo, they will have more personalised or varied meanings. We will go into more detail about this in the next section. 

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What Do Koala Tattoos Mean?

As discussed above, the general meanings of koala tattoos are; trust, calmness, protection, care, and kindness. However, different styles of tattoos will vary in their meanings. Below we have listed some of the most common koala tattoos and what each of them means. 

Mandala koala – Mandala is a word from the ancient classical language of India, Sanskrit. In English, it translates to ‘circle’.  Sanskrit existed long before tattoos came about and is connected to several religious beliefs.

The mandala design itself on this tattoo stands for eternal life, focus, growth, harmony, perfection, rebirth, and the balance between the body and the mind. 

Combined with the koala, this tattoo emulates harmony. Together, the tattoo signifies intuition, passion, wisdom, creativity, and two of our previously mentioned meanings; trust and protection. 

Koala with a crescent moon – The crescent moon section of this tattoo represents empowerment, fertility, inspiration, manifestation, and inspiration. Again, this tattoo has religious connections, this time to Hinduism. Lord Shiva wears a crescent moon on his head to show that he is the controller and lord of time, it represents that he himself is immortal. 

As a whole the tattoo stands for; magic, dreams, compassion, and of course, calmness.

Mother koala with babies – Unsurprisingly, a mother with babies tattoo is the best way to show front the impressive motherhood qualities that the koala has.

Therefore, this tattoo is arguably most connected to kindness and care, as previously mentioned. As well as this, a mother koala with her babies signifies; insight, love, affection, and motherhood.

It depicts that the wearer may have a strong connection with his/her own mother, or that the wearer is generally a caring and trustworthy person. 

Koala with a black love heart – The love heart is typically known as a symbol of happiness, life, and love, however, giving it the black colouring brings in the representation of grief or death. 

Because of this, this tattoo is most commonly associated with loss, affection, memory, and emotional attachment. 

It depicts that the wearer may be mourning the death of a loved one or wants to remember someone who has passed. 

Half skull/half koala – The skull is by no doubt a symbol of death, however, when inked, the skull tattoo represents the wearer’s daringness. Often, it is used as a way of reminding the wearer that death is assured, but to not be afraid and instead focus on living a full life. 

The koala/skull tattoo represents enchantment, spiritualism, bravery, and understanding. 

Koala under the sun – Here, the sun shows the symbolisation of rebirth. Getting inked with a sun tattoo is believed to act as a guide for the wearer when faced with dark and troubled times. 

This tattoo is most commonly associated with confidence, insight, magic, protection, and wisdom. 

It depicts that the wearer may be looking for some guidance, but also stands as a way for the wearer to feel self-assured. 

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Characteristics and Styles of Koala Tattoos

All of the above tattoo designs that we mentioned are of course great choices to go for. Most are pretty self-explanatory, but if you want to look up more specific styles there will be plenty of pictures available online – or you can put your own personal touch on it. 

To give you some more ideas for how to style your tattoo, we’ve also discussed some options below;

  • Most koala tattoos are black and grey, purely because it tends to stand out more and the ink is more durable. However, you can also change the colour to either blue or brown which are also very popular and have certain meanings.
  • The two most common ways to tattoo a koala are either by doing a life-like version, or an animated version.
  • Since koalas spend the majority of their lives in trees, they are often tattooed sitting on branches or between leaves. This can also be incorporated with a floral design. 
  • If you want to make your tattoo a little different, koala designs also work really well with geometric or dotwork styles. 
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Where Do Koala Tattoos Usually Go?

As you may have noticed, koala tattoos are very diverse, so for this reason they can pretty much go on any part of your body. If you’re doing a life-like design with lots of detail, you may want to choose a larger area such as the back, thigh, upper arm, or stomach. If you’re doing a smaller, more simple design, then this tattoo is often inked on wrists, hands, or ankles. 

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Koala tattoos are popular among both men and women, and since there are so many design choices they can have personal meanings to each wearer. The koala makes for a beautiful tattoo with overall positive meanings.

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