Information on Koalas

The koala is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial that lives only in Australia. They are known as koala bears, which is inaccurate. Their closest relatives are wombats. The koala inhabits New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria. Those from northern parts are smaller and have brighter color than koalas from south.

Some scientists believe that they are separate subspecies, but it isn’t proved. The main part of their diet makes eucalyptus leaves, so they live in open eucalypt woodlands. Because this leaves is very low on nutrition, koalas are inactive and sleep 20 hours a day.

The koala is asocial animal. Adult males mark their presence with a secretion from their scent glands, (located on their chest). They communicate with loud bellows. Those bellows should attract mates, but at the same time should intimidate rivals. The female koala gives birth to underdeveloped young. After the birth, it will crawl into the mothers’ pouch. It will stay there 6-7 months. Young koalas are called joeys. The biggest treats for koalas are: koala retrovirus, Chlamydiaceae bacteria and bushfires.

The koala has big, fluffy ears, a large head and vestigial (non-existing) tail. Their body has a length of 60-85 cm and a weight of 4-15 kg. This means that koalas are one of the largest arboreal marsupials. The biggest differences between males and females are in weight, males are 50% bigger than females, and males have more curved noses. A less noticeable difference is chest glands that only male koalas have. The interesting fact is that koalas have a very small brain. It weighs only 19 g and it occupies 61% of the cranial cavity.

 

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