The koala is a marsupial (a mammal with an extra-large pouch) native to Australia. It lives mostly on eucalyptus leaves. Eucalyptus trees have fragrant leaves, which are poisonous to people and animals. A special bacteria in koalas’ stomachs make them safe to eat.
Koala Facts for Kids
- Koalas are found in Australia
- They live for 10-15 years
- Koalas are nocturnal
- A baby koala is called a joey
- They have sharp claws for climbing
The koala is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is easily recognizable by its stout, tailless body, large head with round, fluffy ears, and large, spoon-shaped nose.
Koalas inhabit open Eucalyptus woodland and are sedentary animals that sleep up to twenty hours daily. Asocial animals communicate with loud bellows and mark their presence with scent glands on their chests.
Koalas symbolize Australia and have been hunted by Indigenous Australians for millennia. They are currently threatened by habitat destruction caused by agriculture, urbanization, droughts, and associated bushfires, some related to climate change.
A female koala gives birth to one baby every three years. Baby koalas are called Joeys. In the early stages of development, koala joeys are tiny naked creatures that don’t look like koalas. When they’re around 6 months old, they emerge from the pouch.
As the young koala approaches six months, its mother prepares it for its eucalyptus diet by predigesting the leaves, producing a fecal pap that the joey eats from her cloaca. The pap provides a supplementary source of protein at a transition time from a milk to a leaf diet.
Koalas have a Pouch
Koalas are sedentary and sleep up to twenty hours a day. They give birth to underdeveloped young that crawl into their mothers’ pouches and stay there for the first six to seven months of their lives.
The pouches of most marsupials face upward, but some face backward. Koalas’ backward-facing pouches offer more protection to their young than kangaroos’ front-facing pouches.
What do koala bears eat?
Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves and have a special digestive system that helps them detoxify the chemicals in the eucalyptus leaves. Despite this, they only eat about 50 eucalyptus species out of over 700.
Where can you find koala bears?
The koala habitats are in the southeastern and eastern regions of Australia. In the wild, koalas can only be found along the coastlines of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria on the southeast and eastern sides of Australia.
This is their natural habitat, where they spend most of their time standing upright on branches or sleeping in tree hollows.
Koalas can sleep 18 hours a day.
The animals are not very energetic, so they spend most of their time napping in the eucalyptus forests on branches.