Facts about Koala Bear

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1. Koala bear is not a bear
Despite the fact that this animal is called the koala “bear” the cuddly creature is not a bear at all. A Koala is a marsupial or pouched mammal. After bringing forth an offspring, a female koala carries her baby in her pouch for about six months. When the infant comes out, it rides on its mother’s back or clings to her belly, moving everywhere with her until it is about a year old.

2. Koala is a term that means no water
In the aboriginal language the word ‘koala means ‘no water’. Koalas do not drink a lot of water, and they get most of their moisture from the eucalyptus leaves.

3. Koalas have a special digestive system
Koalas have a unique digestive system featuring a long gut. This kind of gut allows koalas to break down the tough eucalyptus leaves and stay unharmed by the poison in the leaves. Koalas consume a lot of eucalyptus leaves from which they derive a special odor from the oil, reminiscent of cough drops.

4. Koala population is reducing
The Australian Koala Foundation approximates that presently, there could be to be less than 80,000 Koalas remaining in Australia with minimum numbers being estimated at a low of 43,000. This loss is largely attributed to continuing loss of Koala habits making it vital to save what is left.

5. Mature Koala males have scent glands
A mature male Koala has a dark scent gland in the middle of its white chest that discharges a dark, sticky substance. The male Koalas rub this substance on the trees to send a signal to other Koalas the extent to which their territory stretches.

6. Koalas sleep much to generate energy
There is a common myth that Koalas sleep much because they ‘get drunk’ on the gum leaves that they feed on. On the contrary, Koalas sleep much because they need to generate more energy to break down the toxic, fibrous, low-nutrition food that they feed on. Sleeping is the most appropriate way to conserve energy for these animals.

7. Koalas live in tall eucalypt forests
Koalas do not set up their habitats in rainforests or desert areas. Instead, they inhabit the tall eucalypt forests and low eucalypt woodlands of mainland Eastern Australia. They are also found on some islands off the Eastern and Southern coasts. Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia are the only states where Koalas are found naturally in the wild. Habitat loss is a considerable threat to Koalas.

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8. Koala’s offspring are called Joeys
‘Joeys’ is the name used to refer to baby Koalas. Scientists frequently refer to them using terms like ‘juveniles’, ‘pouch young’ and ‘back young’. When Joeys are born, it’s only about 2 centimeters long, blind and furless and its ears are not developed. The baby koala spends its first six months inside its mother’s pouch.

9. Koala’s communicate through noises
Koalas also interact with each other by making a range of noises. The most shocking and unexpected of the noise that these seemingly gentle animals is a sound similar to a loud snore followed by a belch, known as a ‘bellow.

10. Most healthy Koalas have Chlamydia
Chlamydia is an organism that lives in body tissues of many healthy Koalas. In normal populations, it is held that Chlamydia acts as an inbuilt control mechanism to regulate the population so that there is no over browsing of the trees. This ensures that only the strongest and fittest animals remain alive to breed. Chlamydia sometimes makes Koalas sick particularly when they get stressed.

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