There is a common misconception about the Australian koala and a lot of people at first glance may say: Koalas just wanna have a little party on their own at night, get high and sleep all day long.
It’s true that koalas are mostly nocturne animals and they spend most of their time awake at night. Their favorite spot for hanging out are the eucalyptus trees. They like it so much that they actually don’t move from there at all. They eat sleep and hug the tree 24/7. The only time they actually move from the eucalyptus tree is when they run out of food and have to go to another tree with more supplies of food.
Their three main activities are sleeping, eating, and mating. Koalas are herbivores animals and their main source of food are eucalyptus leaves. They need extra energy to digest these leaves because they contain a high level of toxins and low on nutrients. That’s why koalas need to sleep longer hours, actually very long up to 18 hours. In the remaining 5-6 hours, they spend their time eating. Not only that they don’t get high from the eucalyptus leaves, as many of us may think, but they also don’t drink either. The meaning of the word koala is ‘’no drink’’. They get the quantity of water needed from their main food, the eucalyptus leaves that they are consuming. However, because of the heat, these leaves can be dehydrated and koalas can sometimes, rarely though, be seen drinking water as well.
Although they can swim, if there isn’t anything they can climb on to get out of the water, eventually they’ll get exhausted and drown. Koalas like their time for themselves and don’t wanna socialize very much. They spend their time alone on the trees and the only time they mingle with other koalas is when they’re mating.
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Interesting facts about the Australian koala
Koalas are marsupials which means that they are not bears and have nothing to do with these mammals. They are most closely related to kangaroos and wombats. Now the question is where would the family gathering be held on since wombats live underground and koalas on the tree? Unfortunately, we don’t have the answer.
They have pouches as well where they carry the baby koalas, called joeys. Females become sexually mature at 2 years of age with a gestation period of 35 days and can give birth to 10 joeys in their lifetime. Males become sexually mature a little bit later than females at the age of 4. Little koalas, joeys don’t eat eucalyptus until they reach about six months since it’s hard for them to digest the toxins. Now, this may sound a bit repulsive, but it’s the survival in question: In those several days before they start eating the eucalyptus leaves, they eat their mommy’s poo. They have their reasons and it’s only for a few days though. They are very cute but no kissing, please.
Koalas strongest sense is hearing, but they can’t see well. They can reach up to 80 cm in height, weigh from 4 kg to 13kg, and eat nearly 650 g of eucalyptus leaves in those 3 hours when they are actually awake, most often during night time. They can live up to 15 years.
Where can you cuddle a koala in Australia?
Koalas live only in the eucalyptus forests in Australia. Although they can be found in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia the Koalas World Capital is Gunnedah, located inNew South Wales. In this district, the healthiest population of Koalas can be found where in the Waterways Wildlife Park visitors can experience a close encounter with koalas. Even though koalas fur isn’t so soft as it seems, we still enjoy cuddling them. Koalas can be cuddled in the zoos where are accustomed to people. Although It’s illegal to keep a koala as a pet, you can still adopt one.
There are less than 100,000 Koalas left in the world. For their survival, the most important are the woods and eucalyptus trees as their main habitat, since it is estimated that one koala requires 100 trees. Their survival is under great threat due to urbanization and massive habitat destruction. The stress from the loss of their habitats is the reason they get chlamydia, a bacterial infection from which many of them die.