Koala Pictures

 
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Koala Photos Showing This Marsupial Wrongly Known as a Koala Bear

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The Koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, is commonly known as the Koala Bear, but in fact is not related to bears at all. It is a marsupial and a native of eastern and south-eastern Australia. Marsupials are a group of animals that raise their young in pouches, and include kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, wombats, possums, and opossums. The name koala bear came about because the koala looks like a teddy bear, and the name is still used widely, but is discouraged in Australia because of the inaccuracy.

The koala has a thick plushy fur coat, large furry ears with long white hairs on the tips, and long limbs. The koala has large sharp claws, and ridged skin on the bottom of its feet for traction, both of which make it a good tree climber. Weight varies from about 31 pounds for a large male, to about 11 pounds for a small female. The koala’s five fingers are arranged with opposable thumbs, providing better gripping ability, and it is one of the few mammals, other than primates, that have fingerprints.

Koalas are very slow moving animals. Their high fiber, low nutrient diet gives them a slow metabolic rate and they sleep around 19 hours a day. Koalas live in trees to be safe from predators, even sleeping there, with their backs firmly pressed into the forks of branches. They tend to sleep throughout the day, and start to move around after sunset, for around five hours or so, feeding for three of those hours. Their diet consists almost entirely of eucalyptus leaves, so these trees become their home and their food supply. They travel on the ground only to move from one tree to another. They seldom drink water, getting their needs from the eucalyptus leaves. They eat twelve different varieties of eucalyptus, and in some regions will also eat mistletoe, tea tree, wattle, and paper bark, if available.

Koalas breed once a year, with mating happening from September to March. Females are mature at three years old, males at four years. Gestation lasts around 35 days, and only one baby, called a joey, is born at a time. The joey is blind, hairless, less than one inch long and weighs little more than 1/32 of an ounce. The joey crawls from the birth canal into its mothers backward facing pouch completely unaided, relying on its sense of smell, strong forelimbs and claws. In this safe haven it attaches itself to one of two nipples, drinks milk, and grows for the next six months. The koala joey will then leave the pouch, but return for safety and to sleep until it is too big to get in, after which time they often ride on their mother’s back, holding onto her fur with strong hands and feet. When they are about a year old they can live in trees.

Koalas can live as long as 17 years, however male life expectancy is less than 10 years due to fighting injuries or death from dogs and cars when crossing open ground to a new tree or area. Females generally live longer and, if healthy, a female will reproduce for 12 years. The Australian Government lists the koala as a priority species for conservation status assessment, and, as with most native Australian animals, the koala cannot be kept as a pet in Australia or anywhere else.

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Picture of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, in a tree, close up, Australia

Picture #: 061933

Stock photo of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, with cub, Queensland, Australia

Picture #: 003443

Image of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, two, in a eucalyptus tree, Australia

Picture #: 061939

Photo of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, sleeping in a tree, Queensland, Australia

Picture #: 003446

picture of a koala picture of a koala picture of a koala picture of a koala

Picture of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, feeding on eucalyptus leaves, Queensland, Australia

Picture #: 003444

Stock photo of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, captive, Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Picture #: 114343

Image of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, two, in a eucalyptus tree, Australia

Picture #: 061938

Photo of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, feeding on eucalyptus leaves, Australia

Picture #: 033176

picture of a koala picture of a koala picture of a koala picture of a koala

Picture of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, in a tree, Australia

Picture #: 061935

Stock photo of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, sleeping, Australia

Picture #: 033177

Image of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, feeding on eucalyptus leaves, Queensland, Australia

Picture #: 003445

Photo of a koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Picture #: 114350

 

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