Are they bears?
Koalas are called koala bears but they are actually marsupials. Marsupials are endemic to Australasia and the Americas, just like kangaroos and wallabies, and their young are carried in a pouch.
They live in the tall eucalyptus forests and low eucalyptus woodlands of mainland eastern Australia, and on some islands off the southern and eastern coasts. Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia are the only states where koalas are found naturally in the wild.
The koalas, though protected by law, are not listed as an endangered species. Thousands have died in the recent bush fires in Australia and a large part of their habitat has been lost.
What do koalas eat?
Koalas only eat eucalyptus leaves, and a bit of dirt, as it helps them to digest the leaves. They eat up to one kilogram of eucalyptus leaves in a day and choose the most nutritious and tastiest leaves.
Interestingly, eucalyptus leaves are seriously tough and poisonous too. Luckily for them, they have a long digestive organ called a cecum, which allows them to break down all those leaves unharmed.
Koalas are mostly nocturnal. They often sleep for up to 18-20 hours each day. Most of their time is spent sleeping because it requires a lot of energy to digest their toxic, fibrous, low-nutrition diet and sleeping is the best way to conserve energy.
Published in Dawn, Young World, January 18th, 2020