All about koalas

A+koala+lounging+in+its+natural+habitat.

Photo under creative commons license from Flickr

A koala lounging in its natural habitat.

Phascolarctos cinereus, also known as koalas, are fuzzy little bears that live in eucalyptus forests in Australia. These bears have caught the eye of many for their friendly features and way of life. 

Koalas are herbivorous which means they only eat plants. Their diet includes leaves from a variety of trees. These trees and leaves include eucalypt leaves, lophostemon, melaleuca and corymbia. On an average day, a koala can eat up to a pound of leaves.  Koalas have a very slow metabolism so they can take energy from the food that they’re slowly digesting. They need energy however from their diet they lack nutrients that they need to be more energetic, which is why they are always found sleeping. Koalas have a smart digestive system too because it has adapted to the koalas diet by detoxing the poisons from the leaves and trees. 

The insides, and system of a koala. (P.Schouten, From ‘Koalas, the little Australians we’d all hate to lose’ Bill Phillips AGPS)

 

A koalas habitat consists of lots of trees because they usually live in forests in southeastern Australia. This is one of the reasons they only eat plants, because the habitat they live in is mainly plants. Koalas looks are also deceiving, their fur looks very fuzzy but the texture is not like a cat or a dogs fur, it is more wooly and scratchy. Although the fur isn’t soft to the touch, it is well taken care of. Koalas have two toes fused together that they use to brush through their hair to keep it clean and stylish.

A koala taking a rest in a tree on a sunny day. (Photo under creative commons license from Flickr)

 

 

With koalas being well groomed, it is a shock to many that these bears carry a well known disease called chlamydia. This is one of the leading causes of death for koalas. Humans, and koalas can both catch chlamydia but humans and koalas have different kinds. Humans get chlamydia trachomatis while koalas get chlamydia pecorum. Koalas get chlamydia the same way humans do which is from sexual intercourse. It is a mystery of how koalas first got chlamydia however scientists have found two antibiotics that give hope to koalas with chlamydia. These antibiotics are called chloramphenicol and doxycycline. Koalas can use the same antibiotics as humans to treat chlamydia however the results aren’t all positive or effective depending on the koala. Chloramphenicol and doxycycline are the safest and have the best results on these bears. 

A koala having a mid-day snack from a tree. (Photo under creative commons license from Pixbay.)

These animals struggle with the health problem of chlamydia but that isn’t the end of their struggles. Koalas are also in danger of going extinct. Koalas started facing a problem when humans started hunting them for their wooly fur. They also face problems with their chlamydia problem, and bush fires in Australia. You can donate and read more here about the koalas extinction problem.

A parent and baby koala looking out in their habitat, that could go extinct. (Photo under creative commons license from Wikimedia.)