Koalas

Native to Australia and exclusive to the eucalypt forests of Eastern and South-Eastern Australia, there are only three subspecies of Koala. Solitary animals, Koalas sleep as long as long as 18 hours a day and have a low-energy diet of eucalyptus leaves.

7,313 Questions
Koalas
Zoology or Animal Biology

What is the name of a baby koala?

A baby koala is call a Joey

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Koalas
Beavers
Moose

Is this fact or fiction a moose strips off and eats the bark of trees?

true

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Koalas

Where do koalas live?

Country and Continent

The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is a marsupial mammal (not a bear). It is endemic to the continent of Australia, meaning that it is not found on any other continent or island group. Koalas, while extremely vulnerable to human intervention and habitat loss, enjoy some areas of healthy population in the eastern mainland states.

Under the Federal Conservation Act, the species is listed as inhabiting four states:

  • Queensland - They are considered to be common throughout this state, except throughout the southeast, where their conservation status is "vulnerable".
  • New South Wales - Officially koalas are listed as vulnerable in this state, but their status varies within local regions from "secure" to "locally extinct".
  • South Australia - Koalas were completely wiped out in South Australia by the 1920s, but there have been recent, successful attempts to recolonise southeastern parts of the state, and these colonies are thriving. They can be seen in areas of the Adelaide Hills and the Fleurieu Peninsula. Attempts to create a self-sustaining koala population on Kangaroo island (off the southern coast) have been highly successful, and there is almost an "overpopulation" problem there, due to their protected status and the absence of natural predators.
  • Victoria - The Koala is common in this state and is considered to be a booming population. This is one of the areas where koalas seem to have a stable population, both on the mainland and on a number of offshore islands.

Koalas have also recently been introduced into selected national parks in Western Australia. These colonies are succeeding, with new joeys being observed each year.

Habitat and Ecosystem

The koala lives mostly within the temperate zones of Australia. Its habitat is eucalypt woodland and bushland, but of the several hundred species of eucalyptus ("gum trees"), koalas prefer about 60 varieties, with their specific preferences being limited to a couple of dozen.

Koalas are particular to Eastern Australia, and can be found along the eastern and south-eastern coastal regions. They live in cool temperate zones, right up to hot, sub-tropical zones. Koalas live in a range of habitats, as long as there are abundant eucalyptus trees of the sort they prefer. They are found on coastal islands, tall eucalypt forests, bushland and low woodlands inland.

Koalas spend most of their time nestled in the branches of their favoured trees. They do not shelter in tree hollows or nests, but sit comfortably wedged in between tree branches.

Koalas are not found in rainforests, nor in grasslands or deserts. These biomes do not support the eucalyptus trees which koalas favour. They are also not found in Alpine or snowy regions.

To see a map of where koalas are found in Australia, see the related link.
Trees
Koala bears live in the wild (and in zoos) in Australia and in zoos in other nations.
Koala bears are native to Australia. They are not actually bears, however. In reality, they are marsupials, like wombats and kangaroos.

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Marsupials
Koalas

Why do koalas have upside down pouches?

The female koala has an "upside down" or backward-opening pouch for two reasons.

Firstly, the koala is built for climbing trees. It spends many of its waking hours climbing up and down trees and along tree branches, and this can mean that all sort of debris such as pieces of bark, twigs and leaves could accumulate in a pouch that opened at the top. Having the opening at the bottom (and an opening that is securely held closed by a sphincter-like muscle) means this does not happen.

Secondly, it makes it easier for the young koala to feed once it gets older.

After a baby koala is about 28-30 weeks old, the mother produces a substance called pap. This substance is actually a specialised form of the mother's droppings which, having passed through her digestive system, give the joey the enzymes it needs to be able to start digesting the tough gum leaves, making an easier transition for the baby koala to start eating eucalyptus leaves. The koala joey's head just needs to emerge from the backward-opening pouch to feed on this pap.

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Marsupials
Koalas

Why doesn't the male koala have a pouch?

The male koala does not have a pouch for the simple reason that the male koala has no part in the raising of the young joey.

The only male marsupial which had a pouch was the Thylacine, now extinct. The Thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, had a pouch to protect its reproductive parts whilst running through thick undergrowth. The pouch had no puspose in helping to raise the young.

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Animal Life
Koalas

What animals sleep 22 hours a day?

The Koala is one of the sleepiest animals on earth, it typically sleeps between 20 to 22 hours a day. The sloth comes in at second sleeping for about 20 hours a day.

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Koalas

How do koalas interact with humans?

Koalas are sedate creatures that try to avoid contact with humans under normal conditions. If they feel threatened by a human, they will scratch and bite quite viciously, so it is best to never approach one in the wild. However, during periods of prolonged drought or heat wave, koalas have been known to approach humans for water.

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Koalas

What is the plural of koala?

The plural of koala is koalas.

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Koalas

What does a koala's footprint look like?

A Koala has five toes on each foot. The front feet have two opposable toes, and the back feet have a clawless opposable first toe, and a fused second and third toe.

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Koalas
Australian Plants

What is the meaning of eucalyptus?

The eucalyptus is a native Australian tree.

The name "eucalyptus" comes from the Greek eu, meaning "well", and kalyptos, meaning "cover." It is called this because it of ts "gumnuts", or solid, woody, well-covered flower buds.

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Koalas
Sugar Gliders
Possums

What animals live in gum trees?

a frog

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Koalas

Are koalas arboreal?

Koalas are arboreal, spendng most of their time in trees. However, they do also descend to the ground to roam between their range trees.

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Koalas
Hedgehogs

Do hedgehogs sleep in the day?

Pet hedgehogs are nocturnal, so they do sleep during the day. There are several ways to reverse this, but I prefer to let my hedgehog sleep whenever she wants to

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Koalas

Who eats eucalyptus tree leaves?

The koala is well known as an animal which eats gum leaves, but a lesser known fact is that the greater gliderand the ringtail possum are also capable of existing solely on gum leaves.

Wombats have also been known to eat gum leaves, but they are not the wombat's preferred diet.

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Koalas

Does the koala eat fruit?

I just now read they can

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Koalas

What is a Koala Corridor?

A koala corridor refers to an extended area of bushland where koalas are commonly found, usually running north to south. It is known koala habitat amid urbanised or semi-rural areas.

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Koalas
Australia
Landforms

Do koalas live around Uluru?

No. Koalas cannot live around Uluru because there are no eucalyptus trees around Uluru. While some species of eucalypts do live in the desert, the sort that koalas require for feeding and shelter do not. Koalas are found only the eastern mainland states, and their range does not extend inland as far as the desert.

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Koalas

What non living things affect a koala?

Gravity, temperature, light, friction etc...

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Koalas

How many koalas are left in the world?

Accurate figures are difficult to determine. The Australia Koala Foundation estimates that koala numbers in the wild have dropped to below 80 000. Research suggests the figure may be as low as 43 000.

As a species, the koala is not endangered in Australia, but some local populations have been reduced considerably.

The conservation status of koalas varies from region to region in Australia. For example, due to farming, land clearing and habitat loss, native koalas were eradicated from Western Australia and South Australia in the last century, but moves have been made to reestablish new colonies in both states. Currently, koalas are thriving on Kangaroo Island in SA, and in other isolated colonies.

Koalas are still listed as "common" in most parts of Queensland, but in the southeast region of Queensland, their status will soon be changed to "vulnerable", following a drop of over 60% in koala numbers in the past decade.

The NSW Government listed the koala as "rare and vulnerable" in 1992, and following protective measures, this has been changed to "vulnerable"; as a result, koala numbers are improving. In Victoria, the koala is not on the threatened species list at all, and in some protected and remote regions, there is actually an overpopulation problem. Where new colonies have been established on Kangaroo island, off the coast of South Australia, there is also beginning to be some concern regarding overpopulation.

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Koalas

What do koalas eat?

Koalas are herbivorous, living almost exclusively on eucalyptus leaves. Their name is derived from an aboriginal word roughly meaning "doesn't drink". Koalas receive most of the water they need from the eucalyptus leaves, although they have been observed drinking water as well.

Koalas live in eucalyptus trees and eat only a few types of gum leaves from which they get all nutrients and water requirements. They also occasionally eat the gum tree blossoms. Two of the koala's digits on their forelimbs act as opposable thumbs, enabling koalas to reach out and grasp the leaves they want.

Eucalyptus leaves are tough, toxic and low in nutrition, but the koala's digestive system is capable of removing the toxins, filtering them out by the liver. The caecum completes the process by changing the eucalyptus leaves into digestible nutrients. The caecum is similar to the human appendix.

While there are hundreds of different eucalyptus species in Australia, koalas eat from only about 60 of the species, consuming about half a kilogram of eucalyptus leaves every day. Koalas select from just 14 species as their primary food source, specifically, the subgenus Symphyomyrtus. Preferred eucalyptus species vary depending on their locality, so that the species eaten by Victoria koalas will be different to those eaten by north Queensland koalas. Koalas have been known to also eat the buds, flowers and bark of these particular species, while dirt also seems to supplement mineral deficiencies. Koalas have been seen feeding in eucalypt trees such as Manna Gum, Swamp Gum, Blue Gum, Forest Red Gum and Grey Gum.

The koala must eat 200-500 grams of leaves per day to meet its energy requirements. Eucalyptus leaves contain approximately 50% water, 18% fibre, 13% tannins, 8% fat, 5% carbohydrates, 4% protein and 2% minerals.

Baby koalas, called joeys, drink mother's milk during their first 6-7 months of life. After 30 weeks, the mother produces a substance called pap. This substance is actually a specialised form of the mother's droppings which, having passed through her digestive system, give the joey the enzymes it needs to be able to start digesting the tough gum leaves, making an easier transition for the young koala to start eating eucalyptus leaves.

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Koalas

What should you name a koala?

Austin Bamboo Coco or anything you want. (note that koalas DO NOT eat bamboo, though)

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Koalas

Do koalas eat vegetables?

No. Koalas feed almost exclusively on eucalyptus leaves. Koalas live in eucalyptus trees and eat only a few types of gum leaves from which they get all nutrients and water requirements. They also occasionally eat the gum tree blossoms.

Koalas will not eat all types of eucalyptus, feeding on just 14 species as their primary food source, specifically, the subgenus Symphyomyrphus. Preferred eucalyptus species vary depending on their locality, so that the species eaten by Victoria koalas will be different to those eaten by north Queensland koalas. They have been seen feeding in such varities as Manna Gum, Swamp Gum, Blue Gum, Forest Red Gum and Grey Gum.

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Marsupials
Koalas

Why do koalas have a pouch?

Koalas have a pouch for the development of their joey. Koalas joeys are born very undeveloped, and they need to complete their development in the mother koala's pouch, where they can stay attached to a teat for all their nutritional needs, and where they are protected.

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Koalas

What helps koalas climb trees?

Koalas have sharp claws with opposable thumbs. This gives them extra grip for climbing and staying in trees.

Trees which are frequented by koalas are readily identifiable by a series of three or four parallel scratches made by the koalas' claws.

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Koalas
Kangaroos

Where can you find koalas and kangaroos?

Koalas are found only in Australia. Specifically, they are found along the eastern coast of the continent, excluding the island state of Tasmania.

Kangaroos are found almost exclusively in Australia, but tree kangaroos are also native to parts of New Guinea and Indonesia. In addition, wallabies (smaller species of kangaroos) have been introduced to other parts of the world, such as New Zealand.

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