Interesting facts about koalas for wildlife lovers

By Stef Zisovska
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Koalas are lovely, fluffy animals known for spending most of their lives sleeping on trees and eating eucalyptus leaves. The word “koala” in the Aborigine language means “no water” which explains the animal’s lack of need for water. The only way koalas get moisture is from the leaves they eat. Koalas spend up to 18 hours sleeping on trees and that’s probably because their diet consists mostly of low-nutrition vegetation. The eucalyptus leaves that they eat protect them from fleas and other insects from living in their fur. There are many interesting facts about these cute Australian mammals that you might like to learn. Let’s get started!

Koalas aren’t bears

Koala

Koalas are not even related to bears. They are distant cousins of the wombat. The reason they’re called koala bears is their teddy bear look.

The koala number in Australia is dropping

There only between 2000 and 8000 koalas in the world. The number of their population keeps dropping due to the destruction of their natural habitat on the eastern coast of Australia. Their number dropped 90 % in the last decade.

Koala fur is different in different parts of Australia

In the southern parts of Australia, it is longer and shaggier than in the north in order to keep them warm in the cold southern winters.

What do baby koala looks like?

Just like other marsupials, a koala baby is also born immature and develops further in the mother’s pouch. The cub spends six months in the mother’s pouch and then three months more hanging on the mom’s fur during the day, but going back in the pouch at night. A newborn koala is blind, hairless, and with a size of a broad bean.

How do koalas move?

Male individual

Koalas have strong arms and legs as well as big claws that they use to move around the trees. Also, they have two opposable thumbs on their forepaws that help them move and hang on branches even easier. Besides being a skillful tree climber, the koala is also a great swimmer and can cross a river without a problem if a flood comes and they need to save their lives. On the ground, koalas are not too good.

 

Quick koala facts

  • Koalas are the only living members of their family, Phascolarctidae. 
  • Koalas have fingerprints that are individual and very like humans.
  • The only place in the world where you can see a wild koala is Australia.
  • Koalas eat hundreds of species of eucalyptus.
  • A male koala’s live around 14 years. Female koalas outlive males by 5 to 10 years.
  • A wild koala changes trees every day.
  • Wild koalas can walk almost a mile at night and still be in their home range.
  • Female colas usually mate with younger males.

The biggest threat to koala populations is habitat loss due to cutting down the forests in Australia for urban, industrial and rural development. Besides losing habitat and food, they are also under a big stress. When under stress koalas are most prone to diseases and infertility which is not good for their existence, knowing they only give birth to a one baby at a time. If you live in an area that has koalas, there are many ways you can help them and reduce their extinction. The first thing you can do is to start planting eucalyptus trees. Make sure you don’t hit any koala when you’re driving at night because that’s the time when they’re most active. Also, keep dogs and cats inside at night to lower the chances of possible attacks.

Koalas are sweet animals and we need to make sure we protect them as much as we can.

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