The koala is an arboreal, herbivorous marsupial and one of the most iconic of all the animals native to Australia.
Known as the Australian teddy bear, English-speaking settlers from the late 18th century first called the 'Koala' a koala bear due to its similarity in appearance to true bears. Although taxonomically incorrect, the name koala bear is still in use today - but only outside of Australia. Why? Because the 'bear' part of its name is discouraged because of the inaccuracy in the name.
|What is a koala?|
Koalas live in eastern Australia, where the eucalyptus trees they love are most plentiful. In fact, they rarely leave these trees, and their sharp claws and opposable digits easily keep them aloft. Because they get so little energy from their diet of eucalyptus leaves, koalas must limit their energy use so during the day they can sleep up to 18 hours tucked into forks or nooks in the trees.
Inside the pouch, the baby koala (known as a joey) attaches itself to a nipple to feed on the mother’s milk. It will continue to grow inside the pouch for approximately 6 months, then during the last month, the mother will begin to feed it with half digested food passed through her rectum. That's right, during weaning the joey eats poo!
At six months the young joey will periodically leave the pouch and move on to its mother’s back where it clings tightly. Three months later, the young koala will be fully grown and able to feed itself. Be that as it may, the young koala will remain with its mother until the next mating season, when it will be driven off by the next male suitor. The young koala will move itself off to another tree and from that point on will live independently until it too becomes sexually mature.
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