Koala Bears For Kids
Koala bears are just the cutest animals! Here are some really cool facts for you to enjoy.
Where can you find koala bears?
Koalas are found in eastern Australia in the eucalyptus forests.
They have grey fur with a creamy colored chest, and very strong clawed feet. No wonder they can climb so well up the branches of trees!
They are awesomely cuddly and they are about 23 inches (60 centimeters) to 33 inches (85 centimeters) long and they weigh about 31 pounds (14kilograms).
Koalas have large noses that are coloured pink or black.
Are they Bears?
Well they are called Koala bears, so surely they should be bears right? Well actually wrong.
They just look like teddy bears, and when they were first found, because they kinda looked like a teddy bear that’s where they got their name. Wow!
Koalas are actually marsupials. The kangaroo is another example of a marsupial.
Just like other marsupials the mom has a pouch where she carries her cute and cuddly baby, called a joey. She carries her joey for a couple of months after they’ve been born.
When a little baby is born, it climbs into mom’s pouch straight away.
At birth, they are blind and don’t have any ears, but they use their strong sense of touch and smell – as well as their natural instincts – to find their way.
When they are born, they are about the size of a jellybean…that’s super small!
When it’s strong enough to cling to mom’s back, it leaves the pouch! Cool huh?
What do koala bears eat?
They only eat eucalyptus leaves, nothing else! Can you imagine living on eucalyptus leaves your entire life? That can’t be too tasty!
Now and again they eat a bit of dirt, as it helps them to digest the eucalyptus leaves. Wow their diet isn’t very tasty at all!
Once they’re all grown up, they eat a lot. They eat up to 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of eucalyptus leaves in a day! Whoa that’s a lot. Oh and they’re fussy eaters too.
They only choose the most nutritious and tastiest leaves from where they live. At least they’re trying to be healthy!
Now this is amazing! Eucalyptus leaves are seriously tough and poisonous too. What? Well, luckily for them they have a long digestive organ called a cecum, which allows them to break down all those leaves unharmed. Phew!
Interesting Facts about Koala Bears
Koalas get their names from an Aboriginal term meaning ‘no drink’. It is believed that as they get all their moisture from the eucalyptus leaves they love so much, that they hardly ever drink water.
Do you enjoy your sleep? Well so do our cute, furry friends. They don’t have much energy and when they’re not munching away at leaves, they snooze in the branches.
They can sleep up to 18 hours a day. Wow, they must eat fast to get 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of eucalyptus leaves in 6 hours!
Koalas are protected by law, but they’re not listed as an endangered species. Their habitat is really under threat.
Very sadly, about 80% of their habitat has been lost to human homes, droughts and forest fires! When they’re closer to the city, as they sometimes have to be, they are often killed by cars and dogs.
That’s really sad.
But luckily, lots of people are working together to make sure these awesome creatures survive.
Koala fossils were found in Australia and have been dated back as long ago as 20 million years. They’ve certainly been around for a long time.
The brain size of modern koalas brains have got smaller than their ancestors. It’s thought that this is because they get very little energy from their diets.
The closest living relative to this cute creature is a wombat.
Words you need to know
Habitat – the natural home of an animal
Fossils – the remains that are left behind of animals or plants in rocks