The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal (tree-living) marsupial, found in eastern and southern coastal Australia. It is related to the wombat. It is not a bear.
The Koala has soft, short silver-grey to brown fur. It is a rounded, short animal with a large head with round, fluffy ears. Its underbelly is white. It has no tail. Its nose is black and distinct, and covered with leathery skin. It has curved, sharp claws for climbing trees. The first and second digits on its fore-paws are opposable, enabling it to grasp tree branches. The second and third digits on the hind-paws are fused together. Males have chest glands, which are visible.
The Koala has a body length of 60–85 centimetres (24–33 inches).
The Koala lives in open eucalyptus woodlands. It is herbivorous, eating the leaves of eucalyptus trees and other trees.
It lives in trees, but it will walk along the ground sometimes. They are sedentary, sleeping up to 20 hours a day.
Female Koalas are pregnant for 33-35 days before giving birth to a single baby, called a joey. A joey can be a boy or a girl. Being marsupials, the Koala gives birth to an underdeveloped baby that crawls into its mother’s pouch, where it stays for the first 6-7 months of its life. In the pouch, the joey sucks on its mother’s milk. The joey eats leaves when it is about six months old.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM