Are there koalas outside of Australia

Phascolarctos cenereus Koala bear

Characteristics

What do koalas look like?

Although they are called koala bears, they do not belong to the bears at all, but to the Australian marsupials or marsupials.

They are 61 to 85 centimeters tall. Depending on whether they live in warmer or cooler regions, they are of different sizes and weigh different amounts.

In Victoria they can weigh up to 14 kilograms, in Queensland further north, where it is warmer, they weigh a maximum of 8 kilograms. The females are, on average, smaller and lighter than the males.

The thick fur of the koalas is brownish-silver-gray.

The thick, dark nose and the large, plush ears are typical. The head is relatively large in relation to the body.

The females carry a pouch on their belly in which the young can grow up. The gripping hand is equipped with sharp, pointed claws so that the animals can climb well.

Where do koalas live?

Koalas are only found in Australia. They were originally very widespread. Only on the island of Tasmania in the south of the continent did they never occur. They were hunted for their fur and eradicated in many areas. But some of them have been resettled. Today there are probably 45,000 to 80,000 Ko

Koalas can only live in areas where different eucalyptus trees grow. It is also important that other koalas live nearby.

That is why koalas can only be found in the sparse eucalyptus forests of Australia, in which only a few other trees grow besides eucalyptus trees.

What kinds of koala are there?

Only the koala belongs to the genus of koalas. Other marsupials that belong to the subfamily of koala relatives are the ring-tailed climbing pouches, the giant gliding pouches, the dwarf gliding pouches and the gliding squirrel pouches.

How old do koalas get?

Wild koala males live around ten years old, the females up to 15 years. In captivity, they can live up to 19 years.

behavior

How do koalas live?

With their relatively small eyes, koalas always seem a little sleepy - and they are: They are even quieter than the South American sloths because they sleep up to 20 hours a day.

They do this to save energy. They crouch in a typical posture in a fork of a branch, which holds them so tight that they cannot fall off even when they sleep.

Koalas live in trees and are mostly nocturnal. They only wake up in the evening.

During the day they spend most of their time in trees. Only at night do they come down to the ground.

Then the otherwise lazy animals can move quickly and skillfully on all fours. However, they only descend from their tree to look for a new tree.

Koalas are strong and good climbers. Your arms and legs are relatively long in relation to your body. The hands and feet with their claws are excellent grasping tools.

If you want to climb a tree from the ground, jump up the trunk and put your claws into the trunk.

Then they pull themselves up with both arms and legs at the same time. When going down, however, they always put one leg in front of the other. But no matter whether it goes up or down - koalas always climb with their heads up.

Koalas are loners who live in territories. They only come together at the mating season. Nevertheless, there is a kind of hierarchy between the individual animals whose territories overlap or border one another.

Most koalas stay loyal to their territory for the rest of their lives.

Young koalas have to find their own territory when they are big enough. If a koala dies, its territory is usually taken over by another conspecific

Friends and enemies of the koala

The natural enemies of the koalas are dingoes, owls, eagles, monitor lizards and python snakes.

The bushfires that occur in the dry seasons also kill many koalas. In addition, their habitat is destroyed by clearing, drainage and the construction of roads and fences: If a koala's territory is divided by a road or a fence, it simply remains in the part in which it is currently located and thus loses half of its territory . Because koalas are so slow, they are sometimes run over by cars.

How do koalas reproduce?

Koalas become sexually mature when they are around two years old. Most of the time, however, they do not mate successfully until one or two years later.

Depending on the region, the mating season is between October and April. After a gestation period of 35 days, a single, only two centimeter tall, naked and blind cub is usually born. Immediately after the birth, it crawls independently into the pouch on the mother's stomach. It grows protected in its mother's pouch. At 22 weeks old, it opens its eyes and looks out of the pouch for the first time.

Eventually it leaves the pouch from time to time to lie on its mother's stomach and eat there. When the boy has grown up, the mother carries it around on her back. In the event of danger, however, it still looks for protection in its mother's pouch.

When they are 18 months old, the young koalas have to find their own territory. However, if the mother does not immediately have another baby, the offspring can stay with the mother for two to three years.

How do koalas communicate?

Koalas can make sounds that they use to communicate over fairly long distances. One of these sounds is a scream of fear, which sounds like an infant screaming in fear. Males also emit deep, grunting barks when trying to emphasize their place in the hierarchy. Sometimes it sounds like a pig's grunt.

During the mating season, the males bark a lot, the females significantly less. The females exchange soft clicks and squeaks with their young. Sometimes they also make a buzz or murmur.

maintenance

What do koalas eat?

Koalas are very picky about what they eat: they feed almost exclusively on the leaves, bark and fruits of eucalyptus trees.

However, of the more than 300 Australian eucalyptus species, they only eat 70 species, in some regions only five to ten different species.

This means that the different koalas only eat certain different types of eucalyptus, depending on the region from which they come.

Only now and then do they nibble on the leaves of other trees or nibble on earth to get enough minerals.

An adult koala needs 600 to 1200 grams of eucalyptus leaves per day. Before eating, the animals sniff the leaves carefully before chewing them to a pulp.

In order to be able to digest the difficult to digest, sometimes even poisonous leaves, koalas have an appendix up to two and a half meters long, in which bacteria live that help digestion.

Koalas rarely drink water. This is where the name "Koala" comes from. It comes from the Aboriginal language and means "don't drink".

They meet their fluid requirements to a large extent from the water contained in the eucalyptus leaves. Sometimes they also lick up dew and raindrops.

Keeping koalas

Outside of Australia, koalas are very rarely kept in zoos: this is due to their eating habits.

Because they only eat eucalyptus and only certain species of it, they can only be kept in regions where enough of the eucalyptus trees grow that they like.