Koala is one of the most famous Australian animals which is on the verge of extinction. They are habitat to the land down under. But due to the increasing amount of deforestation, climate change and agricultural expansion they are under great threat. Well they also secure a position on the top 10 list of animals that are most threatened by climate changes.
Let’s get to know some interesting facts about koala.
1. Fussy eaters
Eucalyptus leaves are their major survival and they can munch up-to a kilogram a day. While for some animals eucalyptus is poisonous, for koalas the special digesting organ called caecum is useful for them to detoxify the chemicals in the leaves. At times they get picky for choosing less than 50 to 800 eucalyptus species. For them the best of the leaves are the ones on the top of the trees which have high amount of liquid and nutrients.
2. Kola means ‘no drink’
The word comes from the Australian aboriginal language as people thought that the koalas don’t drink at all as they eat highly moisture laden eucalyptus leaves. But this is not true as they do drink esurt from various sources whenever needed, quite often during droughts and high heatwaves.
3. 18 hours of beauty sleep
Their diet of eucalyptus leaves is low in nutrition and that’s the reason that koalas need to sleep more than any other animal so as to conserve their energy.
4. Their Chlamydia is a serious illness
This Chlamydia is different than the one found in the humans. Many species of koala are vulnerable to the disease and it happens when they are in stressful situations. This disease can lead to blindness and reproductive tract infection too.
5. Tree clearing causes loss of their homes
Since the last two years the amount of tree cleaning has tripled in new South Walves, which leaves the species homeless. Due to this they spend their time on the ground looking for food, which leads to them starving or being hit by vehicles or attacked by dogs. These stressful situations would also lead to Chlamydia diseases in them. All this has endangered their species.
6. Not bears but marsupials
They are most commonly termed as koala bears due to their physical traits like big black nose and round ears. But actually they are more similar to marsupials like wombats.
7. Koala babies are extremely cute
They are known as ‘Joeys’ and they grow in their mothers womb for about six months. After the journey in the pouch, they then hang on their mum’s back for another six months, only using the pouch to feed and sleep.
8. Found in southern east and eastern Australia
Even though they are a national symbol of Australia’s wildlife, they only reside in the southern east and eastern Australia. Being on the high ends of the eucalyptus trees and the native bush lands and forests is their thing.
9. Supportive butt
Hanging on to the trees and being wedged between the rough branches need some good support. And for the koalas they have their strong cartilage at the end of their curved spine. This makes it easy for them to hang on the eucalyptus trees as their home.
10. Wild Koala day
May 3rd is celebrated as wild Koala day. This was an initiative taken by a koala conservationist to protect the species.
11. Koala fingerprints
Other than the primates, they are the only ones to have fingerprints. And like us every individual has a different print apart from this the patterns on their noses are also unique which enables the biologist to identify and track them.
12. Strong paws
It’s useful for them to help their food and climb on the trees. The front paws have 5 digits and the hind paws are fussed together for grooming.
13. Koalas are loners
They remain in their own territory and respect the boundaries of others. Their area remains different based on their self, social position, habitat quality.
14. Smell like eucalyptus
While the mature males tend to have a strong muskier odor. The joeys and females give off a slight eucalyptus smell which acts as a natural insect repellent.
Even though they are extremely cute and harmless, their number keeps on decreasing with every passing day, the reason being deforestation and diseases. They are now declared as endangered species by the year 2022. We really need to come forward and save them from declining in number.