Koala Is Not Bear

Koalas are Australia’s most iconic mammalian inhabitants. They only live in the Eastern and Southeastern of Australia. Despite the name’s fame, five infamous facts about the animal will be going through in this post.

Koala consumes toxin.

Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves
Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves.

Believe it or not, Koalas only feed on the toxic leaves called eucalypt. These leaves contain 13% of poisonous Tannins. It would be fatal to humans if humans consumed more than 3.5 ml of eucalyptus oil. Thanks to specialized guts bacteria that they get from their mothers, Koalas can digest this toxin.

“Joey” eats the secreted substance from its mother.

Baby Koala - or Joey
Baby Koala – or Joey.

This behavior is instead a radical solution. Due to the Joeys do not have a specialized digesting system at first. Thus, the mother Koalas must feed their newborns with a liquified form of feces, the so-called PAP. As a result, the baby Koalas get the necessary microbes to diggest eucalyptus, too!

Koala sleeps up to 90% of its lifespan.

Koala sleep up to 22 hours per day
Sleep 22 hours? I think I’m a Koala.

Koalas can sleep from 18 – 22 hours, and the rest of the time is feasting. The sleeping time is to diggest the toxin in the eucalyptus leaves. Also, due to the low nutrition in the leaves, koalas need to eat a lot. They can eat up to 500 grams per day, but the leaves do not provide much energy, so the koalas are not very excited creatures.

Koalas are not bears.

Koala Is Not Bear
Koalas are marsupials.

These creatures are not related to bears at all. Koalas are marsupials in which they (the female) have pouches. Like the kangaroos, they give birth to undeveloped young. When they are born, baby Koalas or the “Joeys” have no fur, no ears, completely blind, and have a size of a jelly bean. Generally speaking, these mislabel mostly come from the phrase “Koala Bear” due to their teddy bear-like appearance.

There were over 1,000,000 Koalas

Koalas are Vulnerable – IUCN Red List.

Now the number is around only 43,000 – 350,000 individuals (National Geographic Wild, 2019). Koalas are rated to be Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and are likely to become Endangered (EN).

One of the reasons comes from urbanization which usually corresponds to vast tree clearing. On the other hand, along with urbanization, drought and forest fires also contribute to the decrease in Koalas’ population since the early 1900s. In 2019, in the hottest summer ever recorded in Australia, the enormous bushfires drastically diminished the habitats of Koalas.

As a result, due to the loss of natural living habitats, Koalas are now more vulnerable to diseases, dog attacks, and vehicle strikes. The Australian government is providing substantial financial aid to preserve this iconic animal.

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