The Phascolarctos cinereus or commonly known as the koala bear, is not really a bear but a species of a pouched mammal called the marsupial. They are mostly nocturnal animals, often sleeping during the day and moving around most of the night. The majority of these koalas live in the eastern region of Australia where the eucalyptus trees that they truly love are plenty for them.
Rarely leaving these trees, their sharp claws and five opposable digits keep them up in the trees, allowing them to easily tuck themselves into the forks and nooks of the trees before lulling to sleep for up to 20 hours at a time.
Sadly, these koalas are on the verge of extinction with an estimation of there being less than 80,000 remaining over the next few years as the majority of these koalas are facing habitat loss in Australia, one of the countries with the highest rate of deforestation.
With all this information about the koala, what do we really know about them?
Here are some impressive facts about the koala:
- Koalas have a special digestive organ called the caecum that allows them to digest the leaves from the eucalyptus tree and detoxify the poison in them.
- Because they rarely drink water, koalas hydrate themselves from the moisture of the eucalyptus leaves that they eat, and even keep it in pouches in their cheeks.
- Male koalas have an insanely unique feature in their vocal folds amongst land mammals; their vocal cords are outside the larynx that are capable of producing a sound 20 times lower than the pitch normal for its size.
- Despite the great number of eucalyptus trees in many of the Australian reserve parks, most koalas only favour very few trees, some even to only 10 to 15 of them where it is all within 30 feet and have a fairly thick canopy.
- In the aborigine language, “koala” means “no water”, following their characteristics of rarely drinking water hence, their non-scientific name.
- The koalas are extremely picky with their food and will only feed on eucalyptus leaves that are at a certain stage of growth.
- A newborn baby koala is as small as a broad bean and is also blind and hairless.
- Koalas are excellent swimmers.
- Baby koalas are referred to as “Joeys”, and are often called “juveniles” and “pouch young” by scientists.
- Koalas in the southern part of Australia have much thicker fur than that of those in the north because of their versatile adaption to keep themselves warm during winter.
- Most koalas often meet their death by cars on the highway or violent stray dogs that come across the paths of these koalas.
- They base their home trees on the quality of habitat, age, gender and social position of other koalas, and would rarely visit other homes unless in the time of breeding.
- Younger female koalas breed at least a Joey every year while older and mature females would only breed a single baby every two to three years.
Out of all these facts, how many did you already know?