The cute looking Koala somewhat resembles a teddy bear! The Koala happens to be a marsupial carrying its young one in its pouch like the Kangaroo. The Koala has a thick coat, large ears and long limbs. Big, sharp claws assist them in climbing trees easily. The weight of the Koalas varies from about 14 kg for a large southern male to about 5 kg for a small northern female.
Koalas live on tress and are herbivorous, feeding chiefly on the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. The name ‘Koala’ is derived from an ancient aboriginal word meaning ‘no drink’. This is because the Koala receives over 90 per cent of its hydration from the eucalyptus leaves it eats. The Koala drinks only when ill or when there is not adequate moisture in the leaves in times of drought! Read on to know more interesting and amazing facts about the Koala.
Facts about Koala
Class - Mammalia
Order - Marsupialia
Family - Phascolarctidae
Genus - Phascolarctos
Species - cinereus
Names - young: joey
Conservation Concerns – On verge of extinction due to destruction of habitat, predation and illness.
Range - Australia.
Habitat - Eucalyptus forests.
Size - Length: 69 to 79 cm (27 to 31 in).
Weight - 5 to 12 kg (11lb to 26 lb).
Feeding Habits - Koalas are herbivores. Their diet chiefly comprises eucalyptus leaves. Koalas normally eat during nighttime.
Offspring - Female koalas give birth to one baby in a year. The joey resides and grows up in its mother's pouch and comes out after five to seven months. Mother Koalas, thereafter, carry their young ones on their back for one year more.
Life Span - Upto 20 years.
Interesting and Amazing Information on Koala
- Koalas consume leaves of about 35 out of 500 species of the eucalyptus tree.
- Koalas get most of the fluid they need from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree.
- Koalas generally keep to the same trees for days.
- Koalas live only in Australia. In the cold south Australian regions, the Koalas have long, shaggy fur. In the warm north Australian parts, their fur is shorter. Once upon a time, the Koalas used to be hunted for their fur. But this activity is now banned.
- Koalas do not make a nest or search out a shelter for themselves. They reside on eucalyptus trees.
- Koalas resemble soft, cuddly teddy bears, but they are neither bears nor remotely related to bears. Like the Kangaroos, Koalas are marsupials carrying their young in pouches.
- Apart from the Greater Glider and the Ringtail Possum, the Koala is the only other mammal with a digestive system that can sustain solely on eucalyptus leaves. The leaves of the eucalyptus tree will prove to be very poisonous if consumed by a human being.
- Koalas eat usually during nighttime and can consume near about five kilograms of leaves at one time.
- Koalas sleep during daytime. They sleep for 19 hours each day. Koalas sleep in the nook of a tree.
- The two thumbs on their front paws and sharp curved claws on all the digits enable the Koalas in their extraordinary climbing skill. The second and third toes on the hind foot of the Koalas are fused together and have rough pads. These are used for grooming and climbing.
- The Koala can run as fast as a rabbit.
- The fingerprints of Koalas are astonishingly like those of human beings.
- The Koala is the only arboreal marsupial without a tail.
- The Koala has a sharp sense of smell and hearing.
- Koalas are normally solitary creatures, except during the breeding season.
- The Koalas emit grunting and wailing sounds to communicate with one another.
- The Joeys are incapable of digesting eucalyptus leaves on the onset. They, therefore, eat special micro-organisms from the droppings of their mothers.
- A given area can accommodate only a certain number of Koalas, if they are to remain healthy and well-fed.
- The quick decline of the Koalas’ habitat is threatening their population. When anxious due to the loss of their homes, Koalas become prone to developing a disease called ‘Chlamydia’.
- There are around just 2,000 to 8,000 wild Koalas in Australia currently.
- Every year, the Koalas are killed by dogs, cats, dingoes, goannas, eagles and owls. They also die because of diseases and accidents.