Koalas

By: Chloe Tzau

The Koala

The koala is a furry animal that can only be found in the wild in Australia. Koalas fall into the category of marsupials. Marsupials are animals that have a pouch. Eucalyptus leaves are the koala's main diet, and they usually will not eat anything else. Eucalyptus trees serve as a koala's home, which provides protection from many predators. Since koala's are either grey or brown, they camouflage very well in these trees. Koalas are mainly nocturnal. Koalas are not endangered, nor are they well populated. They are in danger of being endangered for many reasons.

Early Life

Once the koala is born, it spends all of its time in its mother's pouch, which is warm and safe for a weak, baby koala. At a newborn, the koala only drinks its mother's milk for a source of "food". The newborn koala eyes open when it is about 22 weeks old. By 24 weeks, the koala can see and move around easily. The joey makes some trips outside of his mother's pouch to look around. The koala now eats 'pap'. These are special dropping made by the mother from eucalyptus leaves. The baby koala has to eat these because it's young stomach cannot digest eucalyptus leaves. At 6 months old, the baby koala is ready to leave the pouch. The koala leaves the pouch for short amounts of time at first, but its visits get longer over time. When a baby koala is 9 months old, it is too big for the pouch, it now rides on its mother's back. Once the koala is 10 months old, it stops drinking its mother's milk. When the koala is 1 year old, it leaves its mother to go live on its own.

Adult Life

Once a koala leaves its mother, it must find a safe eucalyptus tree that provides food, water, and a home. Usually, koalas pick trees that are empty, if a tree is too crowded, there could be a shortage of food, or other koalas could drive another off/out. Koalas will sleep during the day, and in the evening, it will eat. This is the routine that koalas will usually take for the rest of their life.It is unusual for a koala to actually drink water, because they get water from eating eucalyptus leaves.

Sources:

Koala. By: Michael Leach

Koalas. By: Rachael Hanel