The scientific name of koala bears is Phascolarctos Cinereus which means ash-colored-bear.
Koalas are not bears but nocturnal marsupials, meaning they have pouches where they carry their joeys (babies) for six months. However, since they are cuddly and look like bears, people call them koala bears.
Koalas live in Eastern Australia.
What do Koalas eat?
Koalas love eucalyptus trees in their habitat. They dig in their sharp claws (which have two disparate thumbs and three fingers) in these trees, and snooze for 18 hours a day.
- Eucalyptus leaves are poisonous, to protect the gum trees from insects. Koalas have a very slow digestive system. Their caecum (digesting organ) is unusually lengthy (2 metres). It holds millions of bacteria, which detoxify the leaves’ fiber.
- Their molar teeth severe upto 500 grams of leaves everyday. These leaves also provide water for the koalas. However, eucalyptus leaves have very little nutrition, so koalas rest a great deal, to digest them. Koala in Aborigine signifies “no water.” Koalas drink water only when they are not well.
Why are they becoming Endangered Animals?
Each koala bear requires a hundred gum trees (called home trees) and they rub their scent on each tree in their home range. Sadly, chopping these trees is slowly eliminating these animals.
Koalas are also hunted for their wooly grey furs which resist rain. Only 80000 koalas remain in the wild.
5 Interesting facts about Koala Bear
- It is illegal to keep a koala as a pet!
- Koalas sometimes communicate through sounds like snores and belches.
- Humans’ and koalas’ fingerprints look alike.
- Koalas smell like our cough medicines, because of the eucalyptus leaves they eat.
- The first koala fossil dated to 20 million years ago and looked like a bull. People feel that their low nutrition may have led to their brains becoming smaller.
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