Koalas are not bears. They are not placental or ‘eutherian’ mammals, but marsupials, which means that their young are born immature & they develop further in the safety of a pouch. It’s incorrect to call them ‘Koala bears’ – their correct name is simply ‘Koalas’.
Koalas measure about 60 to 85 centimeters (24 to 33 inches) long, and weigh about 14 kilograms (31 pound).
The koalas cute and cuddly looks makes them is one of the most loved marsupial mammals to people of all ages.
Koalas have large noses that are coloured pink or black.
In the wild Koalas can live 12-14 years. But if someone is taking care of them, or if they are in captivity they can live 16-20 years.
Koalas are found in the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia. They have grey fur with a cream-coloured chest, and strong, clawed feet, perfect for living in the branches of trees!
A joey grows and develops in the pouch for about 6 months. Once strong enough, the youngster rides around on its mother’s back for a further 6 months, only using the pouch to feed.
Koala’s grow up to become big eaters, shifting up to 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of eucalyptus leaves in a day! They are fussy, too, and will select the most nutritious and tastiest leaves from the trees where they live.
Koalas almost never need to drink water, getting sufficient water from the leaves they eat. In times of drought or when food is scarce, they will drink water from streams and the like, if necessary.
Koalas are nocturnal marsupials famous for spending most of their lives asleep in trees. During the day they doze, tucked into forks or nooks in the trees, sleeping 18 to 20 hours.
Whenever koala communicate with each other, they are using several types of noises. They rag, and sometimes they sound like a snoring!
Koalas have a scent gland on their chest that they rub against trees to mark their territory.
Koalas only spend 15 minutes a day in social activity.
Koala was hunted until the 1920s, after which the Australian Government was forced to protect them. Unfortunately, many koala had been killed before, and since then have become extinct animals. Fortunately, they reproduce and are protected from hunters. However, the habitat for the koala is disappearing and they are actually endangered species.
The Eucalyptus tree is not protected and as more of these trees are cut down, the numbers of Koalas are reduced.
It is estimated that there are likely to be less than 80,000 Koalas remaining in Australia today and it could be as low as 43,000.
Koalas cannot be kept legally as pets.
Koala facts teach us that while there are more than 600 varieties of Eucalyptus available in the Koala’s habitat, the animal really loves to eat roughly 30 of these species.
Eucalyptus is poisonous to most animals. The koala’s digestive system creates bacteria that deactivate the poison.
It is thought that koala means ‘no drink’ in some ancient aboriginal languages.
Like humans, koalas have fingerprints. They are the only other mammals besides primates to have them.
The brain size of modern koalas has reduced substantially from their ancestors, possibly as an adaptation to the low energy they get from their diets.