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23 Interesting Facts About Koalas

koala sleeping on tree branch

Koala is an aboriginal animal of the Australian continent. These animals are very similar to small bears. Even the first Europeans to land on the continent called the animal “koala bear.” But after a while, koalas were singled out into a separate family. Now research on these animals continues, and many amazing facts about koalas have been revealed.

Interesting facts about koalas

  • Koalas are the only modern representatives of the family of the same name.
  • Contrary to popular belief, koalas are not bears and are generally not related to them.
  • The Latin name for the species of koalas is translated as “ashy”.
  • Koalas live only in Australia and on the islands closest to the mainland, but their habitat reaches a million square kilometers.
  • Members of the expedition that discovered Australia did not notice the koalas. They were first mentioned by a servant of the local governor, who met unusual animals while hiking in the mountains almost 30 years after the discovery of the continent.
  • Koalas are related to wombats, but they have thicker fur, larger ears, and longer limbs.
brown animal on branch
  • Koalas have long sharp claws on their paws, thanks to which animals can walk along tree trunks.
  • The weight of an adult koala, depending on gender and habitat, ranges from 5 to 14 kg.
  • Tenacious fingers, which have a special structure, allow koalas not only to climb trees, but also to sleep, clinging to the nearest branch or trunk. If necessary, a koala can hang for quite a long time even on one paw, like a sloth.
  • Koalas are the only mammals other than primates that have fingerprints. They are so similar to humans that they are difficult to distinguish even under a powerful microscope.
  • The penis of male koalas is bifurcated, while females have two vaginas and the same number of uteruses.
  • The brain weight of a koala is only 0.2% of the animal’s body weight. Scientists have found that the brain of the ancestors of koalas occupied the entire skull, but due to feeding on leaves, it gradually degraded to its present state.
koala on tree
  • Koalas prefer to be silent, but during the mating season, males can emit a shrill cry that spreads for several kilometers. Koalas manage to emit a loud cry of low-frequency thanks to additional vocal cords.
  • Frightened or injured koalas scream like little children.
  • Koalas are motionless most of the day — even if they do not sleep, they sit still for up to 18 hours a day.
  • Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves and shoots, which are deadly to almost all animals. At the same time, koalas know how to choose trees in whose leaves the content of poison is minimal — out of almost a thousand species of eucalyptus, they use shoots of only 120 species for food.
  • Koalas run on the ground only in exceptional cases — if they need to get to a tree to which they are not able to jump from another trunk.
  • If desired, koalas can run quite fast and swim perfectly.
gray koala bear sitting on tree branch during daytime
  • Koalas metabolism is twice as slow as that of other mammals. Thanks to this, they can survive by eating even exceptionally low-calorie foods.
  • Pregnancy of koalas lasts about a month.
  • Among koalas, there are fewer males than females, so during the mating season, they have harems of 2-5 females.
  • The body length of newborn koalas is only 15-18 mm. After birth, they spend another six months in a bag on the mother’s belly. For the next six months, the cub travels, grabbing her hair.
  • The next food for small koalas after milk is the mother’s excrement, which makes it possible to accustom animals to eating eucalyptus.