Koalas in the southern parts of Australia (left) are considerably larger and have thicker fur than those in the north (right).This is thought to be an adaptation to keep them warm in the colder southern winters.
The Koala is the only mammal, other than the Greater Glider and Ring tail Possum, which can survive on a diet of eucalyptus leaves. Eucalyptus leaves are very fibrous and low in nutrition, and to most animals are extremely poisonous. To cope with such a diet, nature has equipped Koalas with specialized adaptations.
The Koala phascolarctos cinereus is an arboreal (tree dwelling), herbivorous (plant eating) marsupial. The word 'marsupial' comes from the Latin word marsupium, meaning 'pouch’ – most, but not all, female marsupials have a permanent pouch in which to raise their young.
Mothers give birth and raise only one baby koala at time. During the mothers lifecycle she will produce up to six cubs. A newborn kaola baby is called a “joey” and does not resemble an adult since it is born blind with undeveloped features. A joey measures under one inch in length.
Upon birth the joey makes its way to the mother’s pouch and attaches itself inside. It then develops its eyes, legs, and fur. In fact it lives in the mother’s pouch for about six months. When it emerges from the pouch it takes on the familiar cute and cuddly appearance of an adult.
Special Behavior/Unique Anatomy
Arboricole (lives in the trees), rarely goes on the ground.
They are completely harmless, and they adore the human lap, but be careful with their nails, they are very sharp.
Koalas aren’t very active. They spend most of the day sleeping in the trees. When a sleepy koala moves, it often looks as if it is in slow motion.
Koalas don’t have a lot of energy, because of their food. Eucalyptus leaves don’t provide much energy, so koalas move slowly most of the time.