Information about Koalas
Koalas are furry animals that live only in Australia they live only in certain types of trees, called eucalyptus trees where they can eat the leaves.
Koalas are nocturnal, they spend at least 16-18 hours a day sleeping. The remaining six hours are spent eating eucalyptus leaves and grooming. A koala can walk and even run on the ground, but it only comes down when they move between trees to eat and then it is back to sleep again.
The koalas select which leaves to eat, they usually moves to the tree and sniffs the trunk, they have a highly sensitive nose and then decides whether the leaves are the right ones to eat. They climb the tree of their preferred leaves, koalas have two thumbs, three fingers and non -slip pads on its palms which makes the climb easier.
In Australia there are about 500 varieties of eucalyptus tree but there are only about 50 that the koalas eat, with only 10 -12 being preferred, that is why they sniff out the different trees to see if is the one that they liked.
An adult koala can eat 500 grams to one kilogram of leaves everyday but there is not much nutrition and energy in all those leaves. This low energy food is one reason why the koala spends most of its time asleep, to conserve energy they sleep.
A single koala may eat just two types of eucalyptus all of its life. This is because it does not like to change. Once a young koala starts to eat the leaves of trees in its home range, it tries to feed on the same kinds, year after year. It ignores unfamiliar types of eucalyptus, even though they may be perfectly good for eating.
Eucalyptus leaves are poisonous to most animals. The koala can only eat them because it has specially helpful microbes called bacteria, in its digestive system. These break down the poison into harmless substances.
Koalas are mostly referred to as Koala bear, but they are not bears. Koalas are members of the group of animals called Marsupials. This name comes from the Latin word "masupium", meaning pouch. Koalas have pouch and like all marsupials their babies are very underdeveloped at birth.
It is believed that the name koala came from an Aboriginal word meaning "no drink", almost right because koalas get most of their moisture they need from the leaves they eat. This is topped up by rain and dew on the leaves and branches. The koala is also efficient at saving body water. It avoids hot sunshine and does not sweat. This is why koalas very rarely need to drink.
In 1817, the scientist named this wonderful animal Phascolarctos cinereus, which means ash-coloured or grey.
Koalas are highly specialized to survive only in one type of habitat, a woodland with plenty of eucalyptus trees also known as gum trees. They provide the koala with food, water safety from the ground predators and all other needs. Koalas do not have dens, tree holes or nests. They sleep, eat and breed on the branches.
Life In The Trees
Koalas are light grey or light brown, these colours give good camouflage and make the koala very difficult to see among leaves. The koala is a slow but strong climber and usually moves with its body upright, it goes down from a tree backwards by reversing down the trunk. Koalas have excellent balance and do not fall, even when asleep. They doze high on trees by day and become active at night.
Koala is one of Australia's best known animals.
Amazing Koala Facts
- Koalas were once hunted for their fur. It wasn't until the late 1920s that the fur trade ceased and legislation was introduced to protect it because of the severe decline in koala populations.
- Male koalas have scent gland on their chest which they rub on the trees to mark their territory.
- Males bellow to warn off other males - a call that has been described as a cross between a donkey and a pig!
- Female koalas have two nipples in their backward-opening pouch and occasionally twins are born.
- Bush fires,droughts, domestic dogs, fast cars, disease and habitat destruction area all threats to the survival of this national treasure.
- Baby Koala is called a joey.
Did you know?
- Chlamydia is a disease that impacts on some koala populations. It is sexually transmitted and can cause a koala to become sterile, blind or suffer other illnesses. It might be stress related, occurring when koalas are attacked or are overcrowded or lose their habitat.
- A full-grown male koala weighs up to 12 kilograms and measures about 70 centimetres from nose to tail. An adult female weighs up to 8 kilograms and measures about 65 centimetres from nose to tail.