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The fur of the koala in southern region is thick and woolly and is thicker and ... called a sloth, a monkey and a monkey-bear before Australians settled for koala. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Koalas

Size Size is larger in the southern regions.
Head-body length in the south average 30.7 in./78
cm for males and 28 in./72 cm for
females. Weight Average 26 lbs/11.8 kg for
southern males and 17.4 lbs/7.9 kg for southern
females. In the north, males average 14.3 lbs/6.5
kg females 11.2 lbs/5.1 kg. At birth young
weighs only 0.5 gm. (This is no typo it is
amazing how small they are at birth, about the
size of a bee.)   Fur The fur of the koala in
southern region is thick and woolly and is
thicker and longer on the back than on the belly.
Koalas in northern region have a short coat this
gives them a naked a ppearnace. The color and
pattern of the coat varies considerably between
individuals and with age.
  • Koalas don't live in families, but are solitary
  • Koalas sleep as long as 18 hours a day and have a
    low-energy diet of eucalyptus leaves.
  • Koalas are not "drunk" or otherwise intoxicated
    by their leaves.
  • The name koala is thought to mean "no drink" in
    several native Aborginal tongues -- they do
    occasionally drink water at the edges of streams.

FOOD Koalas are strictly herbivorous in nature,
feeding only on the leaves of 120 out of 600
species of eucalyptus (or gum) trees. They feed
primarily on 12 species, including the manna gum
and the red gum. They eat roughly 1-2 lbs of
leaves each day, some of which enters cheek
pouches to be eaten later. To cope with this
diet, their digestive system is specialized to
handle gum leaves. Eucalyptus trees produce
toxins during some stage of their growth, and
therefore koalas must have a good sense of smell
to know which leaves are edible and which leaves
are not. Koalas will eat soils to gain minerals,
and drink very little water as the leaves they
eat provide most of it for them.
ENEMIES Koalas have few natural enemies, being
killed mainly by dingos, domestic dogs, and cars.
When koalas get stressed, they become susceptible
to disease, and large numbers have been wiped out
by diseases such as chlamydia, conjunctivitis,
cystitis, and leukemia. Their biggest threat is
man, who at one time nearly hunted them to
extinction for sport, and, after 1908, for their
coat. By 1824, over 2 million koala pelts had ben
exported. Today, measures are being made to
protect koalas, but forest fires and land
clearance still take their toll. There are
40000-80000 koalas left in the wild.
Koalas are said to be very lazy, but when it
comes to getting food, they can climb 150 feet to
the top of an Eucalyptus tree and leap from one
to another. These "pouched animals" are very
quick tempered and very muscular. The Aboriginal
meaning of Koala is "no water." Koalas have the
ability to drink, but they seldom do. They obtain
their water through the eucalyptus leaves. Koalas
are excellent swimmers. They are nocturnal,
spending their days lounged in a tree and their
nights consuming up to 2.5 pounds of eucalyptus
leaves. The koalas communicate by a "bellow."
PROTECTION Australian national laws protect
koalas, but each individual state is responsible
for the animal's conservation. The Service
determines threatened status for the Australian
koala under the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C.
1531 et seq.) as amended. The eucalyptus forest
and woodland ecosystems on which this arboreal
marsupial depends have been greatly reduced.
Despite several conservation actions by the
Government of Australia and State governments,
the limited koala habitat continues to
deteriorate.The species also is threatened by
fragmentation of the habitat that remains,
disease, loss of genetic variation, and death by
dogs and motor vehicles due to development.
Although differences occur in the health status
of local populations, we are not able to
designate either the current subspecies or the
koalas of particular States as distinct
vertebrate population segments.
The Name 'Koala' After the Koala was first
brought to the notice of international
naturalists just over 200 years ago, it was more
by good luck than anything else that it was given
its distinctly Australian name. Somehow the name
koala seems to suit this endearing creature but
it could easily have ended up as cullawine,
coolewong, or even bangaroo. Or, it might have
been given an English name. Over a relatively
long period it was called a sloth, a monkey and a
monkey-bear before Australians settled for koala.
While many writers over the years have claimed
the name koala was an Aboriginal word, it is most
likely an anglicised version of one of many
Aboriginal tribal names. The most common version
of the story is that it derived from an
Aboriginal word meaning 'no drink' because,
generally, the koala does not need to drink,
obtaining its moisture requirements from the
hundreds of gum leaves it consumes every day.
However, no annotation exists about the actual
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  • Koalas Presentation
  • Made by
  • Gerda Viks
  • Liina Metsküla
  • Teacher
  • Viive Saar
  • 2005
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