The Diet and Behavior of Koalas

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"The Diet and Behavior of Koalas"
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Koalas have it tough. Their meals are mostly one course. They primarily eat eucalyptus leaves and bark. Because of this, they never get to take vacations. They pretty much have to stick around in the same area their entire lives. They can also eat mistletoe and box leaves. Koalas sometimes eat other leaves such as those from the paperbark, tea, or wattle trees. They seldom drink water as they get most of their water from their leafy diet. Because of the low nutrition of their favorite food, Koalas must eat a lot. They also have slow metabolic rate and conserve their energy by sleeping about 75% of the time.

Koalas are native to Australia and are not technically bears. They are marsupials, as are kangaroos and other animals unique to Australia. The diet of the koala will vary according to the area of Australia or the type of forest in which they live. Koalas are social animals and live in groups, much like many primates.

In the past, koalas came close to extinction because of the fur trade. Fortunately, they were able to come back after being put on Australia's endangered species list. The biggest danger to koalas currently is the automobile. Motor vehicles kill many koalas every year. Koalas breed once a year and have one baby called a "joey." The gestational period is only about 35 days. The joey will remain in the mother's pouch until the next infant is born.

More about this author: Bob Trowbridge

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