Koalas are herbivores, meaning that they only eat vegetables. They eat mostly eucalypt leaves, but koalas can be found in other trees. Koalas can digest the toxins in the eucalypt leaves because their livers can break down the poisons in the leaves.
Today, predators do not make a significant impact on the population of koalas. But, the predators include the goanna, the dingo, the powerful owl, the python, and the wedge-tailed eagle.
The koala has one of the smallest brain to body weight proportions of any mammal. Because of their small brain, koalas cannot perform complex, unfamiliar behaviors. The male koalas are 50% larger than female koalas and can be told apart from female koalas because of their curved noses and their chest glands. Koalas have thick fur on their ears; their back fur is light gray or chocolate brown, and they have white fur on their bellies. Also, koalas do not have great vision because it has very small eyes.
Koalas spend most of their time in Eucalyptus trees. They are not social animals and spend only 15 minutes a day performing social behaviors. Alpha males tend to stay near areas with females and will assert their dominance by rubbing their chest glands on trees. Koalas stay in the womb for around 35 days and then develops in its mother’s pouch. When born, koalas are still an embryo and are not fully developed. At 26 weeks, the baby koala, or joey, is ready to come out of the pouch.
Although the koala does have a few predators, bush fires are the biggest threat to koalas. The most recent fire in Australia has left koalas dying at a very rapid rate, and many people have begun to say that koalas are ‘functionally extinct’. Koalas try to escape the fire by climbing trees, but this just traps the koalas in the fires. Between 350 and 1000 koalas have died, and the fires have destroyed a very large portion of their habitat.
How can you Help?
Learn all you can about Koalas and share with others.
Join the Koala Army here.
Plant a Eucalyptus Tree online here.
Adopt a Koala at Australian Koala Foundation.
Help prevent wildfires in Koala habitat areas.