Koalas are found in South Eastern Australia and has been described as an "ash coloured pouched bear".
But they are not a bear they are a mammal ( meaning they feed their young on Milk)
and are a Marsupial (meaning they carry their developing young mostly in a pouch)
The name koala, comes from the Aboriginal saying that means "no drink".
The Koala obtains enough moisture from the eucalypt leaves that it lives on
Because of the reliance on its one food source Koalas are found where there are suitable Eucalypt forests (Gum trees) and woodlands which is along Australia's East coast and inland of the mountain range known as the "Great Dividing Range" (see map)
The Koala prefers to move around neither in daylight or night, but rather just after sunset.
Usually daytimes are spent asleep in the fork of a tree, as 80% of its time is spent sleeping
For a couple of hours after sunset it will move around quiet a bit feeding and can often be heard "barking" aggressively at other koalas.
It does though at times feed at night and during the day.
Koalas are solitary animals having its own specific home range.
"A picture paints a thousand words"
Koalas are usually ash grey with a white chest and the males are larger than females
Thick fur, fluffy ears and a broad flat nose give them their "cuddly" appearance
They have strong limbs and large hands to help with climbing trees.
Surprisingly they have a short stumpy tail which is of no assistance to them in climbing at all.
There are 2 sub Species (South & North)with the
Southern Koalas up to 1/3 larger than the northern variety
As already mentioned the koala survives almost exclusively on Eucalypt leaves
Not just any type of Eucalypt as their choice changes with seasons, local conditions
and personal preferences. It is thought there is about 12 species of Eucalypt leaves that a koala can feed on
Eucalypt foliage though high in fiber is very "bitter" and contains many toxins harmful to most lifeforms
Koalas have a longer caecum (part of the intestine) which allows more time for bacteria to break down the otherwise indigestible eucalypti fiber
Mating occurs normally between October and February (Summer)
The baby Joey is born five weeks after conception, blind, hairless and less than an inch long. It then crawls into its mothers pouch and drinks from one of the 2 teats there
The next 6 months the baby stays in the pouch drinking milk
The next period before being weaned at around the age of 1 their dietary needs are supplemented by eating some of the mother's faeces (droppings)
the bacteria in its own caecum (part of the intestine) (see paragraph on FEEDING)to aid the baby's own digestion of Eucalypt leaves
Like most wild animals destruction of habitat is a major threat
Predators such as feral dogs and dingoes are also a problem, as is traffic on our nations highways
Some "mainland" koala colonies have declined due to a disease called chlamydiosis