Koalas 
by Michele Greco

 

What do Koalas look like? 

Koalas look like teddy bears. Koalas have soft thick fur, large hairless nose, round ears, no tail, and white stomachs. There fur is also usually gray or brown on their backs. Koalas have five toes. However two are separated from the other three. Their nose has sensitive hairs that enable it to find the best tasting eucalyptus leaves. They have long claws to help them cling onto the branches of eucalyptus trees. Koalas have a pear-shaped body to provide stability while the animal sits in trees. They also have padded bottoms that keep them comfortable sitting in a tree all day long. Koalas also have small beady black eyes. They do not have tails. Koalas have very sharp teeth and sharp claws. These animals can also run as fast as a rabbit. When a Koala is born it weighs less then ½ of a gram, but when it grows to its full size it weighs 15-30 pounds, and is about two feet long. Female koalas also have a pouch that carries their young. 
 

Where do Koalas live? 

Koalas live only in Eastern Australia. They live and sleep in eucalyptus trees, because it is hot, dry, and light there. 
 

What is the life span for a koala?

In the wild Koalas can live 12-14 years. But if someone is taking care of them, or if they are in captivity they can live 16-20 years. 

 

What are some of the uses for a koala? 

Many koalas are killed by hunters for their fur because it is so soft and smooth. 

 

What do koalas eat? 

Each day a koala bear eats 2.5 pounds of eucalyptus leaves. They are very picky eaters. Koalas eat the moist tender tips of the eucalyptus leaves. A meal gives a koala all the food and water it needs. A koala obtains its liquids form these leaves. Koalas almost never d
 
What are some predators of koalas? 

There are many things that put the life of a koala in danger. A dangerous enemy of a koala is the European Fox. Also dangerous to the Koala is fire, (because they cannot run fast enough to escape them,) hunters, and cars, (car accident.) Some enemies of the baby koala are eagles and owls. 

 

Are koalas endangered?

Yes they are. Koalas used to be a food source for Native Americans. Then when the Europeans came to Australia they started shooting at them for their beautiful fur. By 1920 koalas were nearly extinct. Then they eventually became protected and the population rose again. Today the trees where koalas live in are being destroyed for human development. Koalas are also dying from disease, other animal predators, disease, and dogs. There are only 2,000 to 8,000 left in the wild today. Also today koalas are protected everywhere in Australia, and anyone caught killing a koala will be severely punished. 

 

How do koalas reproduce? 

The female koala matures when it is 4 years old and a male matures when it is 3 or 4 years old. When baby koalas are born they are blind, pink, and they look like worms. The mother carries the baby for 35 days. When they are born they stay in their mother’s pouch for 6 months. A baby koala is called a cub or a joey. When the joey is in the mothers pouch it feeds off the digested eucalyptus leaves. After the baby koala spends it’s 6 moths inside the pouch it climbs on the mothers back, and only goes back in the pouch to feed. Once the baby koala is 18 months old it leaves its parents. The father does not have a role in helping bring up the baby. Female koalas can only have 1 baby at a time. 

 

What group is a koala classified in?

The koala is classified into the marsupials, which means that the female has a pouch, or flap of skin across her stomach, where the babies develop. 
 

 

Fun Facts

  • The name “koala’ comes from the Aboriginal word meaning “no drink” 
  • The Koala has many nicknames. Some of which include Koala Bear, Bangaroo, and New Holland Sloth. 
  • Koala sleep at least 19 hours a day. 
  • Koala’s are nocturnal animals which means that the sleep during the day and move around at night. 
  • Koalas eat so much eucalyptus leaves that they smell like them. 
  • The scientific name for a koala is Phasclarctos cinereus. 
  • The koala is a warm-blooded mammal. 
  • There is only 1 specie of koala. 
  • Koalas almost never go on the ground. 

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