Wildlife Wednesday- Koalas

Today's Wildlife Wednesday is all about Phoebe and her family and friends! Ready to learn some fun facts about koalas?
felt animal koala
Koalas live in Australia.

Koala comes from an Aboriginal word that means 'no drink'.

The closest living relative of the koala is the wombat.

eating koala
Koalas vary in size based on the region they live in. Southern Australian koalas have fur that is browner  in color and longer for the colder climate where they live.

Koalas might look like bears, but they're not. They are marsupials. They have pouches just like other marsupials.

cuddling koalas
Koalas have finger prints. The only other mammals that have finger prints are humans and primates.

Koalas have an excellent sense of smell and hearing.

Koalas live 10-15 years in the wild.

koala
Koalas eat eucalyptus. There are over 600 varieties of eucalyptus, but koalas only eat about 30 of them.

Eucalyptus is toxic to most mammals and also extremely fibrous. Koalas have a special digestive system to help them eat the eucalyptus.

Koalas can tell which eucalyptus is more toxic than others.

koala
Koalas eat about 1.5 pounds of leaves a day.

Koalas are only able to digest about 25% of  what they eat, this is why they eat so much

Koalas eat so many eucalyptus leaves, they smell like eucalyptus oil. It makes them smell a bit like cough drops.

Koalas get most of their water from the eucalyptus leaves they eat. 

koala bottom
Koalas are mostly nocturnal. It takes a lot of energy to digest their food. This is one reason why they sleep up to 18 hours a day.

Koala have extra thick fur and a cartilaginous pad in their rounded bottoms. They also have 11 pairs of ribs instead of 13 pairs like most mammals. Combined with a reduced tail and a curved spine all these adaptations make them well suited for sitting in the forks of trees for hours.
koalas
Baby koalas are called joeys.

Baby koalas are 2 cm long when they are born. They are also blind and have no fur.

Koala babies don't leave their mother's pouch for the first 6 months of their life.

koalas
Baby koalas ride on their mother's back or hang from their abdomen once they are old enough to leave the pouch.

Baby koalas spend the first 6-7 months of their life drinking mother’s milk. Then they eat a substance called pap, specialized droppings from their mother. The pap passes on important micro organisms from the mother's intestines that the baby needs to start digesting eucalyptus.

koala sitting in tree
Koalas have a home tree, and trees they visit on a regular basis. The area that these trees are in is called the koala's home range. Koalas have overlapping home ranges.

Unless it is breeding season, koalas usually don't visit another koala's home tree.

Koalas are usually very quiet, unless it is breeding season.

koala
Koalas have a toe on their rear feet that is is two toes fused together. They use these special toes for grooming.

Koalas have 2 opposable fingers, like our thumbs.

koala

Male koalas weigh up to 30 pounds, females weigh about 22.

Male koalas have a bare patch on their chest. They have a scent gland located there that they can rub against trees to mark territory.

For more animal facts, check out some of the other Wildlife Wednesday posts