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Koala

Facts

scientific name

Phascolarctos cinereus

conservation status

Least Concern

lifespan

Up to 10 years in the wild

weight

Adults can weigh 4 – 15 kilograms

diet

The Koala feeds on Eucalyptus leaves, which are not only very low in nutrition, but also toxic to most animals.

habitat

They are found in a range of habitats, from coastal islands and tall eucalypt forests to low woodlands inland.

The Koala is commonly called a ‘Koala Bear’, however this is incorrect. The Koala is a Marsupial; the female has a pouch. The baby, called a joey, is born after a very short gestation (approx 35 days) and does all of its growing and developing inside the mum’s pouch for 6-7 months. The pouch is backwards facing (opposite to the Kangaroo). The Koala has an average lifespan of approx 10 years in the wild. The Koala feeds on Eucalyptus leaves, which are not only very low in nutrition, but also toxic to most animals. To cope with this diet, nature had equipped Koalas with a specialised digestive system which breaks down the toxins. The Koala also has a very slow metabolic rate. Koalas sleep for between 18 and 20 hours in every 24 hour period, as a way of conserving energy.