Although it looks like it, it’s not a bear
He is round, furry and has very cute googly eyes. Looking at it, it looks like a teddy bear, however, the koala is not related to bears. Koalas are marsupials like kangaroos, possums and Tasmanian devils. They are native to Australia and live in eucalyptus forests. The number of koalas has been drastically reduced due to habitat loss. For this reason, they are in a vulnerable state.
Koalas are slow-moving animals and eat only one type of food: eucalyptus leaves. Eucalyptus is a tree with thick, fragrant leaves that are not suitable for consumption by people and other animals. But koalas have special bacteria in their stomachs that remove toxins from these leaves.
- Koalas are nocturnal, feeding at night and sleeping or resting during the day. They are excellent at climbing trees where they can sleep up to 18 hours a day. They go down to the ground only when they want to change trees.
- Koalas in northern Australia are smaller and have greyish fur. Those in South Australia are larger in size, have longer, brownish fur.
- These friendly animals have very poor eyesight, but an excellent sense of smell, which helps them find the type of eucalyptus they prefer to eat. Each night the koala can feed on up to 2 pounds of leaves. Eucalyptus leaves provide them with all the water they need, so they don’t have to climb down from the tree to drink water.
- Koalas have few natural predators, although sometimes wild dogs or owls may attack them.
- Koalas produce sounds similar to snoring and screaming.
- At birth, the koala is as big as a bean (less than 2 cm long), hairless (has no hair), deaf and blind. It instinctively crawls towards the mother’s pouch where it will continue to grow. Babies leave the bag for the first time after 5 months. They then ride on the mother’s back for a few more months, until they can fend for themselves.
- Koalas live up to 20 years in the wild.