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Did you know that koalas have fingerprints just like humans? In fact, they’re virtually indistinguishable from ours. The only other animals that have fingerprints like humans are our relatives like chimps and gorillas.
Anatomists believed that koalas may have evolved them as a way to help them grab and hold eucalyptus leaves. And that is one of many Interesting facts about koalas I’m going to share with you today.
33 Amazing Facts about Koalas
- Koalas are only 25 to 35 inches long, and they weigh just 30 pounds or less! A baby koala that has been just born is usually less than 1 inch long.
- A Baby Koala stays inside his mother’s pouch for about 6 months and they get fully grown in the 4th year of their life.
- Male Koala’s life expectancy is around 14 years whereas Female Koalas’ life expectancy is 5 to 10 years more than Male Koalas.
- Some sources say the word Koala may have come from an Aboriginal word meaning no drink because koalas don’t drink much. But some say that’s a myth and the term actually has Darragh origins that are a specific Aboriginal language and means animal.
- Koalas mostly eat eucalyptus leaves. They don’t drink much and get most of their water from the leaves.
- There isn’t a word for a group of koalas. They don’t actively avoid each other but they tend to be solitary creatures.
- Koala’s scientific name is “Pouched Bear”.
- Koalas are the only living members of the Phascolarctidae family.
- Koalas have fingerprints that are individual. They are only animals other than primates that have fingerprints.
- Koalas aren’t bears. They’re mammals with pouches which makes them marsupials. It also makes them adorable!
- Koala’s closest relatives are the wombats. But they’re not very close.
- Eucalyptus trees act as home as well as food for koalas.
- So for a bit of koala history fossils have been found of their ancestors. There were koalas very similar to the ones we know today as far back as 26 million years ago. Just for a bit of context, Human species has been around for about 250,000 years so 1% of koala’s history.
- After the first koalas appeared, there were also tiny ones maybe just half as big, and even more recently about 3million years ago there were giant koalas double the size of the current one.
- Koalas Are mostly found in Australia. Australia has mostly rain forests. In the rain forests, the eucalyptus trees relatively scarce and yet koalas still sed them for food that actually gave koalas an evolutionary advantage. Because as Australia became drier, many other trees receded but the eucalyptus has stayed around.
- By the way, we tend to think of koalas as a common Australian animal, but they actually have 10 times more wild camels in Australia than they do have koalas. The reason for the strong association between koalas and Australia is partly thanks to the cartoonist Norman Lindsay. At the turn of the 20th century, he created a group of koala characters that were used to satirize parts of Australian culture.
- Another reason for the connection is that during World War one a contingent of the first Australian Imperial force actually brought a koala with them to Palestine as sort of a living mascot, but whatever England had a lance-corporal goat in their army in 2008.
- Koalas moved from tree to tree, and they also revisit the same ones. Aa lot their preferred group of trees are known as their home range and despite being fairly solitary like I mentioned before, they do share trees and home ranges with each other. But they also have a territorial side.
- Male koalas are known as ‘Buck’ and the female Koalas are known as ‘Doe’. A baby Koala is called a ‘Joey’.
- Koalas have a scent gland that they use to mark territory, It’s a brown gland on the chest that they rub on trees to inform other Koalas that “you know this is my tree you can tell from my smell”.
- Koalas have a low loud bellow. According to experts, it’s similar to an elephant Rumble in pitch which is surprising considering their size. This sound is meant to alarm other bucks and detract doze but for the record koalas rarely fight each other. Though it’s usually made by Bucks, looking to attract a mate.
- Koalas also don’t sweat, Even though of course, it gets quite hot in Australia. The reason they’re often hugging trees is to stay cool and that’s why sometimes they’ll even hang on to trees that don’t have eucalyptus leaves.
- Baby koalas are very cute and only one baby koala is born per year to a female Koala. Baby koalas have no fur on their body and the eyes and ears are also closed.
- Baby koalas don’t eat eucalyptus leaves, yet so they get nutrients from their mother’s path, which is essentially poop with a different composition. It comes out of their mother’s bottoms.
- Koalas are kind of mean! In 2006, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that some thieves had stolen a crocodile and traded it for illegal substances. And according to a zookeeper they’d originally planned to take a Koala but it quote scratched the out of them. So in the end, the thieves took the crocodile because it was more agreeable than the Koalas.
- In 2014 a koala named ‘Mundu’ escaped from his enclosure at the San Diego Zoo. But he ended up finding a tree above his usual home and then just spent the whole day sleeping there. The zookeepers got him back in the enclosure with some eucalyptus bribery.
- Koalas sleep between 18 and 22 hours per day. But it’s a misconception that they’re always tired because eucalyptus leaves make them high. Koalas really just need to conserve their energy due to the low nutritional content of the leaves. Koalas furry tail gives them comfort for sitting on trees for long hours.
- Koalas don’t have great visions, so they need their large noses to seek out the best eucalyptus leaves, and they’re pretty picky. There are about 600 types of eucalyptus trees in Australia, and they vary from area to area in a given region. Koalas tend to strongly prefer just one to three types, although in a pinch they’ll tolerate about 50 also.
- If you’re in Australia do not eat like a Koalas. Eucalyptus leaves are poisonous to humans and most animals actually can’t eat them either. Koalas have special microbes in their digestive tract to make their diet possible.
- Koalas also have to eat a lot due to the low nutritional content of leaves. They eat up to 2.2 pounds of leaves per day plus sometimes they keep some extra in their cheeks for later.
- Koalas has chlamydia. An estimated 50 to 90 percent of the animals have it. Historically koalas have had very low genetic diversity and that’s why so many of them are suffering from the same infection. It also means it’s going to be harder for them to deal with climate change.
- In addition to those struggles, koalas are down to about 20% of their original habitat and sadly their population has dropped by about 95 percent since the 1990s. We should save these adorable animals.
- Koalas do not only eat eucalyptus, but they also eat dirt. As I mentioned earlier the nutrition content of eucalyptus leaves isn’t ideal so they get some calcium from dirt and it helps them to fully digest their eucalyptus.
Till then Stay Safe and Keep Learning!!!