18 October 2016 - THE AUSTRALIAN KOALA




THE AUSTRALIAN KOALA

G'day folks,

Today I introduce one of our favourite animals. The koala is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae and its closest living relatives are the wombats.

Koalas aren't bears as many people are led to believe. They aren't even related to bears.The koala is related to the kangaroo and the wombat. The koala is a marsupial mammal. The reason the koala is called a koala bear is because the koala looks like a teddy bear.

The koala's scientific name is Phasclarctos Cinereus.

Now there are only 2,000 to 8,000 koalas in the wild! Although not officially classified as endangered, the population of Australian koalas has dropped by 90% in less than a decade. This is due to the destruction of the koala's natural habitat, a narrow crescent on the eastern coast of Australia.


Logging, agriculture and urban development have not only reduced the area available to them, but added other dangers. The koala's habitat has been criss crossed by roads, resulting in many road kills and attacks by neighboring pet dogs are frequent. Disease, too, has taken its toll on the koala.

  


FACTS:

The koala's nickname is a Native Bear.
The koala is a marsupial mammal.
They are warm-blooded.
The koala's young is called a cub.
The koala's young are born alive.
Koalas drink milk from the mother.
The koala breaths oxygen from air.
The koala might look cuddly but the koala has very sharp teeth and very sharp claws.
The koalas have white on the underside and gray on the rest of its body.
The koala has big ears and a big nose.
The mother has a pouch.
The koala has very thick fur.
The adult koala generally grows to 25 - 30 inches long.
The koala is very small when it's just born.
After 1 month the cub is 1 cm. long.
The koala weighs 15 to 30 pounds.
One cub is born at a time.
The koala cub stays in the mother's pouch for 5 months.
The koala cub is blind when it's born.
Koalas breed in the summer.
Koalas live for 20 or more years.
The koala can run as fast as a rabbit.
Koalas sleep for up to 19 hours.
Koalas live on the East coast of Australia.
They live and sleep in the eucalyptus trees. It's hot, light and dry here.



HISTORY:

Mating occurs Nov-Feb in the south, Sep-Jan further north. Gestation about 35 days; single young weigh about 1/5 oz. and are about 3/4 inches long. Newborn crawls from cloaca to pouch and attaches to a nipple to complete its development. The koala Leaves the pouch first at about 5.5 months, permanently at about 8 months. The young joey then clings to it's mother's back or stomach, sticking it's head into the pouch to feed. During weaning the joey eats partially-digested eucalyptus that merges from mother's cloaca,
thus receiving bacteria needed for digestion as well as food.

Life span 12+ yrs (wild) 16+ yrs (captivity).The largest koalas weigh over 10 kg and are found in Victoria while the smallest live in North Queensland and weigh only 5.5 kg. Koalas are found between these two areas, but only where enough suitable trees have been left.

Koalas also communicate with each other by making a noise like a snore and then a belch, known as a "bellow". 

Koalas usually only have one cub per year. Older females will usually have one every two years.

Koala babies are known by several names. "pouch young", "back young", "joeys" and "cubs".

When koalas are born they are only 2 centimeters long, which is about the same as a jellybean.
   

 Clancy's comment: I've seen many of them, but they are fairly difficult to photograph because they generally sit, dozing high up in trees.

I'm ...