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All About Koalas!!!


Hi, and welcome to the third page of my blog: All About Koalas!!! Hope you like it, bye


The Koala

The koala is not a bear at all, but a small tree-dwelling mammal that lives in eucalyptus forests in Australia. Koalas are 26 - 32 inches tall and weigh 15 - 30 pounds. The females are smaller than the males. Their fur is light grey to brown, with patches of white on the chest and neck, inside of the arms and legs, and inside the ears.



Koalas live in societies, just like people. Each Koala has their own territory, made up of a number of ‘home range trees’ and ‘food trees’. The Koala spends most of its’ life in the trees. For safety, it comes to the ground only to move from one tree to another. These trees provide the koala with food, shelter and places for social contact. Each koala’s home range overlaps with those of their neighbours. It is in the shared, overlapping trees that most of the social interaction takes place. These are very important trees


The Koala is well suited to life in the trees. They have an excellent sense of balance, a lean, muscular body, and long, strong limbs that support its weight when climbing. Its paws have rough pads that help it grip tree trunks and branches. Each paw has long sharp claws and five digits (like our 5 fingers). On the front paw, two fingers are opposed to the other three. This would be like having 2 thumbs and 3 fingers on each hand and allows the koala to grip more securely. They also have a thick woolly fur which protects them from both high and low temperatures. It also acts like a 'raincoat' to repel moisture when it rains. They don’t need to build a nest like squirrels do. The fur on the koala's bottom is densely packed to provide a 'cushion' for the hard branches it sits on, and has a 'speckled' appearance which makes koalas hard to spot from the ground.


The Koala feeds mainly on eucalyptus leaves so the trees are a great place for them to live. They will also sometimes eat from a wattle or tea tree. Eucalyptus leaves have a high water content, so koalas normally don't need to drink. But they are also very fibrous and low in nutrition. Most animals couldn’t digest the oils and poisons in the eucalyptus leaves, but the Koala has adaptated to its’ unique diet. The Koala's large nose is one of its most important features. Its’ highly developed sense of smell helps it tell the type of gum leaf (some have more poison in them) and find the best leaves to eat. Their sharp front teeth (incisors) nip the leaves from the branches and their back teeth (molars) are shaped to cut the leaves rather than crush them. A gap between the incisors and the molars, lets the tongue move the leaves around the mouth. Koalas have a very slow metabolic rate that lets them eat less and retain food in their digestive system for a longer period of time. That way they can get most of the energy out of it and can detoxify the poisonous chemicals in the leaves. It also means that the Koala will sleep for up to 18 hours each day to conserve energy.


Koalas are mostly nocturnal animals, so they are most active during the night and at dawn and dusk. During these cooler hours they are less likely to lose precious moisture and energy than they would during the hotter daylight hours. They will move around the tree during the day and night to catch the warm sun or a breeze. During colder times, they curl up in a ball to conserve body heat.


Koalas communicate by marking their trees with their scent. They also use a range of sounds to communicate with one another over large distances. There are gentle grunts to signal displeasure or annoyance, deep grunting to express aggression (although they rarely fight), and mothers and babies make soft clicking, squeaking sounds and gentle humming or murmuring sounds to one another. All koalas share one common call of fear, which sounds just like a baby screaming.


The Koala is a marsupial. In a marsupial, the newborn baby develops in a pouch on the mother's abdomen. A female Koala has one baby a year. The tiny baby, called a "joey", looks rather like a pink jellybean. It is totally hairless, blind and has no ears. It climbs to the pouch and stays there for seven months, living off milk from its’ mother, slowly growing and developing eyes, ears, fur etc. At about 22 weeks, its' eyes open and it begins to peep out of the pouch. It then begins to feed on a substance called "pap" (rather like a human baby is fed "mushy" food). Pap is a rich source of protein and micro-organisms which are needed for the digestion of eucalyptus leaves. The joey eventually grows too big for the pouch and rides on its’ mother’s back or belly and will begin eating eucalyptus leaves when it is 1 year old.


The average life span of the Koala Bear is about 10 years. Captive Koalas can live up to 20 years. In the wild, Koalas suffer from loss of habitat, predators, and disease. Many are killed by dogs when they climb down to change trees. Although they aren't really bears, they do remind us of cute teddy bears. It is easy to see why the Koala is one of Australia's favorite mammals.




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Animals galore!!! - All About Koalas!!! (Animals - Mammals)    -    Author : Jordan - Great Britain


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last update : 2011-07-30

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