/ Fun Facts for Kids / 15 Koala Bear Facts for Kids

15 Koala Bear Facts for Kids

navajocodetalkersadmin on January 11, 2015 - 4:00 pm in Fun Facts for Kids

How cute is the Koala bear? So cute. These cuddly looking little bears are native to Australia but wait they are not even bears. Technically speaking Koala Bears are not bears at all they are marsupials and closely related to Kangaroos and Wombats.

1. These ancient animals date back to prehistoric times. Fossils have been found that belong to Koalas dating back 20 million years ago. Science has found that he Koala is actually not evolving to a higher level but instead has substantially lost quite a bit of brain power over the generations. Scientists have found that the Koala’s brain size has shrunk substantially over the years and point to power nutrition as the major factor.

They Have a Pouch

2. When you look at a Koala you likely see a sweet cuddly “bear” but the reality is they have pouches like Kangaroos and Wombats that they carry their young around in. When a Koala has a baby it finishes developing on the outside of the body in the pouch.

3. Kangaroo pouches open at the top but Koala pouches open up at the bottom and strong muscles keep the pouches closed and keep baby inside until it reaches full development.

Baby Koala’s are called Joey’s.

They Live In Trees

4. Koala’s spend most of their time up in the tree tops and have special adaptations to keep them in the trees. They live in eucalyptus trees and their diet consists primarily of the eucalyptus leaves. They have well defined digits on their front paws that allow them to get a good grasp on the branches.

5. They have special traction on the soles of their rear paws that make it easy to climb up the tree. They have long claws so they can hold on tight as well. They have two less ribs than most mammals so that their bodies are curved which helps them to fit nicely into tree branches.

6. They have an excellent sense of smell that they use to forage out their favorite type of eucalyptus leaves. There are over 600 types of eucalyptus trees but Koalas use their sense of smell to pick out the two or three types that they like the best.

7. They also have adaptations that allow them to eat eucalyptus leaves which are poisonous to many other animals. They have special bacteria in their stomachs that allow them to absorb only about 25% of the nutrients that the eucalyptus has to offer so that they are not exposed to the poison.

8. Since their diet is not a rich diet and it is low in calories Koalas spend a great deal of time conserving the energy that they do get from food by sleeping up to 20 hours each day. They move very slowly so as not to burn up their energy to quickly when they are awake.

The Size

9. Koalas can range in length from 2-3 feet long and can weigh from 15-29 pounds. The northern Koalas are a bit smaller than the southern Koalas. The southern Koalas have thicker pelts to keep them warmer in the colder climate.

The Babies

10. A Koala gives birth to her baby after only 35 days. The baby or joey is less than an inch long when it is born and it climbs right into the pouch to finish developing. The joey climbs into the mothers pouch and stays there for 6 months.

11. The joey is born hairless with ears that have yet to be formed but emerges six months later fully formed. The baby will eat a substance called Pap that the mother produces in addition to mother’s milk. The Pap contains the bacteria that the joey needs to be able to feed on eucalyptus leaves.

12. The baby will stay with mom for an additional 6 months after it emerges from the pouch so that it can learn how to climb trees and eat leaves. They can live on their own once they are about a year old. It is not unusual for a joey to be carried around on their mothers back once they have outgrown their pouch. Sometimes the joey can be almost as large as the mother that carries them around.

13. Koalas are territorial animals so once the joey is old enough to be on their own they are highly encouraged by mom to do so as a matter of fact they can be chased away by mom rather ferociously.

Life Span

14. Koalas can live from 10-15 years. They do have some natural predators but the biggest threat to their ongoing survival is the loss of their habitat. Since they only eat 2 or 3 different kinds of eucalyptus the survival of the Koala depends on the preservation of their habitat.

15. Conservation efforts are underway to help the Koala keep their habitat thriving.

Comments are disabled

Comments are closed.