Cracking the Koala Code | Koala Fact Sheet | Nature | PBS

Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Phascolarctidae
Genus: Phascolarctos
Species: cinereus
Size and weight: Koalas modal 27-36 in ( 70 to 90cm ) in length and count anywhere from 9 to 20 lbs ( 4-9 kilogram ). Females tend to be both slightly smaller and slenderly less heavy than males. southern koalas are approximately 30 % larger than their northern counterparts. This size remainder is most likely an adaptation to deal with cold climates in the south .
Physical Features: Although normally referred to as bears, koalas are actually marsupials—an infraclass of mammals most normally known for their pouches. immediately after birth, developing newborns migrate to these pouches, or marsupiums, where they will continue to feed and grow for the future several months. many marsupials have pouches that open up, toward their heads, but the koala ’ sulfur pouch opens out toward their hind peg.

Koalas are arboreal ( tree harp ) marsupials and have a phone number of adaptations advantageous to tree living. Their bodies are tilt with long, brawny front and hind limbs and large, crisp claw to help with gripping tree trunks, and roughly hide on the bottom of its feet to provide friction dear for climbing. The koala has five digits on their front man paws, two of which are opposable ( this would be like a human having two thumbs ). This evolutionary adaptation allows the koala to grip branches as its moves from tree to tree. Its hind paw have one opposable digit with no claw, again for grapple, and its second and third digits are fused into one double over claw the animal uses for grooming purposes. Its fur is thicker on its rump to provide cushion when sitting on branches .
Lifespan: Koalas by and large live an average of 13-17 years and females much live longer than males, whose life expentency is often less than 10 years due to injuries during fights, attacks by dogs, and being hit by cars .
Diet: Koalas are folivores ( leaf eaters ) and exist primarily on eucalyptus leaves, though they will occasionally eat non-eucalypt plant species. They eat approximately a hammer of leaves daily and rarely drink, obtaining water from its leafy diet. Though there are good over 600 species of eucalyptus, koalas will much eat from only a handful of eucalyptus species, often specific to the region. Eucalyptus leaves are highly toxic to most mammals, but koalas have digestive systems specially adapted to detoxify the poisonous chemicals in the leaves. They are the only know mammals early than the Greater Glider and Ringtail Possum that live on a eucalyptus diet. Due to the high energy consumption required to digest their food, which is high in roughage, low in nutriment, and besides toxic to most animals and the species moo metabolic rate, koalas spend anywhere from 18 to 20 hours of their day sleeping. Koalas are nocturnal and do the huge majority of their feed at nox .
Geography: Koalas are native to Australia and are found in the eastern and southern regions of the country. The majority can be found in the four australian states : South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales.

Habitat: The species lives in improbable eucalyptus forests, low eucalyptus woodlands, ampere well as coastal and island woodlands. Koalas are primarily found on the Eastern and South-Eastern coastline of the australian continent .
Breeding and Social Structure: Koalas are generally lone animals and exist in chiseled home ranges. Each home range is much controlled by a single alpha male, with a numeral of females besides living inside that area, These females will mate about entirely with the dominant male, who will defend his territory against outside males that may move into the area. Females broadly want to reproduce with the largest male, and trust on male vocalizations to assess the likely mate ’ south size .
Although home ranges may overlap, koalas are by and large nongregarious animals that avoid confrontations and interactions whenever possible. When males aren ’ triiodothyronine bellowing to attract mates, communication through sounds and scents is often meant to alert wandering koalas of their presence and prevent encounters. Males are broadly more vocal music than females, but females will communicate vocally with their youthful, and both sexes make a assortment of noises when in distress .
The koala gestation period is only 34-36 days. The joey is born blind, roll up, earless, and alone about an column inch farseeing. immediately after being born, it crawls up from the birth duct into the mother ’ south pouch. There, the joey attaches to one of two teats, and will not emerge from the pouch for approximately six months. After six to seven months of feeding entirely on milk, the joey starts consuming its mother ’ sulfur protein-rich soft diet, which inoculates the baby ’ s gut with the necessary microbes for eucalypt digestion. At about 12 months old, the young koala no longer drinks milk or fits in its mother ’ randomness pouch. If the mother breeds again, her mature joey will strike out on its own once its new sibling appears outside the pouch. Female koalas do not constantly reproduce per annum, in which subject, the toddler joey may stay with its mother long. once independent, the joey remains near its mother ’ s territory before claiming its own. Koalas become sexually mature at around two or three years, but non-alpha males are far less likely to breed successfully..

Risks: native predators include goannas, dingoes, predatory birds and pythons. however, human natural process poses the most hazard to koala populations. Humans hunted koalas for their pelts until koala search was outlawed in the late 1930s. today, koalas face excessive habitat loss due to urban and agricultural exploitation in the area, forcing them to live in smaller areas and closer to homo populations. american samoa many as 4,000 koalas are killed each class by run-ins dogs and cars. isolate populations inbreed, making the animals more susceptible to disease ,
Chlamydia is common in koalas, but more likely to develop into dangerous infections when the animals are vulnerable or stressed. Conjunctivitis, caused by chlamydia, can cause pneumonia, blindness, and infections of the generative or urinary nerve pathway .
Additional Facts:

  • In 1816 the koala was given its scientific name, phascolarctos cinereus, which loosely translates to “ash grey pouched bear”.
  • Koalas are the only member of the family Phascolarctidae.
  • The koala’s closest living relative is the wombat.
  • Fossils of koala-like animals have been found dating all the way back to 25-40 million years.
  • Koalas are one of the few mammals apart from primates to have fingerprints. Koala fingerprints so closely resemble human fingerprints that it can be hard to distinguish between the two.
  • A koala’s brain is smaller, when compared to its body, than other marsupial brains: about 0.2% of its body weight. It’s possible a svelte brain saves the koala energy, which it has little to spare because of its nutrient-poor diet.
  • The koala only has 11 pairs of ribs, while most mammals have 13.
  • In keeping with its low-energy lifestyle, the koala has a lower body temperature than other animals its size: about 97.9 degrees F (36.6 C). For comparison’s sake, healthy temperature for domestic cats and dogs ranges from 100 to 102.5 (37.8 to 39.2 C).
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