AMAZING FACTS ABOUT KOALA
Koalas do not drink much water and they get most of their moisture from these leaves. In Aborigine language, the word ‘koala’ means ‘no water’.
Life span: 20 years
Size: 60 to 85 cm
Weight: 9 kg
Range: Eastern Australia
Scientific name: Phascolarctos cinereus
- 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 for up to 18 hours.
- This sedentary lifestyle can be attributed to the fact they have unusually small brains and survive on a diet of nutrient-poor leaves.
- When not asleep a koala feeds on eucalyptus leaves, especially at night. Koalas do not drink much water and they get most of their moisture from these leaves. In Aborigine language, the word ‘koala’ means ‘no water’. Koalas can become dehydrated in very high temperatures though.
- Each animal eats a tremendous amount for its size—about one kilogram of leaves a day. Koalas even store snacks of leaves in pouches in their cheeks.
- Out of over a hundred species of eucalyptus trees that grow in Australia, the koala feeds only on twelve, and will only eat leaves at a particular stage of growth.
- Koalas can easily exhaust its’ own supply. Conservationists have to move groups of koalas to areas where food is plentiful.
- The koala has a special digestive system—a long gut— which measures a colossal two metres and is packed with super micro-organisms that detoxify the leaves.
- Koalas tend to smell strongly of eucalyptus and musk. This is thought to discourage fleas and other animals from living in its fur.
- The koala is an excellent swimmer, and may cross rivers in order to escape from heavy flooding in one area.
- A newborn koala is only the size of a broad bean, blind and hairless.
- The young koala spends its first six months inside its mother’s pouch. For the next two or three months it clings to its mother’s fur during the day, returning to the safety of her pouch at night.
- The koala mother and her young enjoy a very close relationship. She happily carries her offspring around constantly until it is old enough to be independent.