Average lifespan in the wild: 20 years
Size: 23.5 to 33.5 in (60 to 85 cm)
Weight: 20 lbs (9 kg)
Protection status: Threatened
Though often called the koala "bear," this cuddly animal is not a bear at all; it is a marsupial, or pouched mammal. After giving birth, a female koala carries her baby in her pouch for about six months.
What does a koala look like?
Their thick, wool-like fur is the perfect camouflage. The gray to light brown color matches the bark of eucalyptus trees, concealing the fleshy koalas when predatory birds are on the prowl. Their fur is so thick and cushiony that koalas can sit on pointy branches for hours and hours and never feel pain.
Where do koalas live?
In the wild, koalas are found exclusively in the large eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia, where they spend almost their entire lives in trees. Their bodies are very well-adapted to the life of a tree-dweller. For instance, each of their forepaws has three fingers with long, sharp claws for climbing and two opposable fingers for grasping branches. Each of their hind paws has two climbing fingers, one grasping finger and two grooming fingers, the latter of which specialize in removing twigs and ticks that get tangled in their dense fur.
What does a koala eat?
Koalas live in eastern Australia, where the eucalyptus trees they love are most plentiful. In fact, they rarely leave these trees, and their sharp claws and opposable digits easily keep them aloft. During the day they doze, tucked into forks or nooks in the trees, sleeping for up to 18 hours. Koalas feed almost exclusively on eucalyptus leaves, which are highly toxic. Of the approximately 350 species of eucalyptus, they can digest only 20 and prefer a mere five. Koalas do not drink much water and they get most of their moisture from these leaves. Each animal eats a tremendous amount for its size—about two and a half pounds (one kilogram) of leaves a day. Koalas even store snacks of leaves in pouches in their cheeks.
Download free Koala wallpapers, click on the image to open the large version.
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Koala coloring pages
Download free Koala coloring pages, click on the image to open the large version.