The Koala Bear is usually recognized by its own fluffy little body and cute innocent looking face. Native to Australia it resides only in particular areas of Australia.
The Koala Bear isn’t really a bear, but thought to be mistaken as one by the European settlers in the late 1800’s. In reality its closest relative is the wombat, also native to Australia.
Interestingly there are no koala’s in Western Australia, Northern Territory or Tasmania. The Koala’s in the south are generally much larger than those from the North. The Queensland koalas have a tendency to be smaller with less fur.
The basic diet of the Koala is Eucalyptus leaves which may grow in the tall gum trees of Australia or low lying Eucalyptus plants. There are many distinct varieties of Eucalyptus of which just several will the koala feed . The leaves are hard to chew, high in fiber and low in protein. Together with a low metabolic rate the koala must conserve energy and does this by sleeping up to 19 hours a day. When awake 3 of those 5 hours are spent eating.
Koalas communicate with bellowing to each other and although appear to be a docile creature, they can be quite vicious.
They have sharp teeth and claws that aid in climbing and chewing the tough diet they require. Rarely do they drink water, although will do this if absolutely necessary.
Breeding time is during the Australian spring/summer from around September to March. A koala can have one pup annually up until around 12 years of age.
Gestation is 35 days old, where the small pup is born blind and without fur. It makes it way to the rear facing pouch where it feeds off the 2 teats for the next 6 months. Babies will make their way out of the pouch about 8 months and cling onto its mother’s back. Sometimes a koala will have off its mother’s stomach. The infant is completely weaned at 12 months.
Koalas can hang out with their mother for about 3 years or until another infant is born.
Regrettably the koala is in decline, mainly because of urbanization that has caused the destruction of its habitat. Even though the koala is currently known as’vulnerable’ by the Australian government, its habitat isn’t protected.