The Koala's big nose is one of its distinctive features which gives it a highly developed sense of smell. It also has distinctive fingerprints like humans!
As with other marsupials, the baby koala, also known as a joey, is blind, hairless and tiny at birth (less than 1 inch). It crawls into its mothers pouch where it will stay, drinking milk for the next 6 months.
Some legends say that koalas have power over the rains and that if people treat them with disrespect, there will be drought. There is certainly old wisdom in those gentle eyes.
The word “koala” comes from an Aboriginal word meaning “no drink” because koalas obtain most of the moisture they need from gumleaves. Drinking water means coming to the ground which is an unsafe place to be.
Why were they called “bears”? In 1814, the koala was given the scientific name phascolarctos cinereus, meaning ash-grey pouched bear by French and German naturalists. The word bear naturally stuck….as of course there is a resemblance.
The Koala is an ambassador and much-loved symbol of Australia. A favourite tourist attraction, the unique and endearing Koala is well known internationally and provides a positive, warm image abroad for Australia.
Prehistoric Australian koalas were as lazy as their modern counterparts and used the same loud bellowing to attract mates, a new study shows.
But an article published Saturday in The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology says the koalas from 5 million years ago did not have the same kind of specialized eucalyptus leaf diet as the modern koala.
Koalas fur is different in different parts of Australia. In the southern parts of Australia it is longer and shaggier than in the north in order to keep them warm in the cold southern winters.
Logging, agriculture and urban development have not only reduced the area available to them, but added other dangers. The koala's habitat has been criss crossed by roads, resulting in many road kills and attacks by neighboring pet dogs are frequent.
Disease, too, has taken its toll on the koala.
Koalas aren't bears as many people are led to believe. They aren't even related to bears. The koala is related to the kangaroo and the wombat. The koala is a marsupial mammal. The reason the koala is called a koala bear is because the koala looks like a teddy bear.
The koala's scientific name is Phasclarctos Cinereus.
Infection of koalas by Chlamydophila pecorum is very common and causes significant morbidity, infertility and mortality. Fundamental to management of the disease is an understanding of the importance of multi-serotype infection or pathogen virulence in pathogenesis; these may need consideration in plans involving koala movement, vaccination, or disease risk assessment.
Our findings indicate that male koala bellows are highly individually distinctive and that the identity of male callers is functionally relevant to male and female koalas during the breeding season.
Koalas (Phascolarctidae) are uncommon elements within the Australian fossil record. The earliest representatives are recorded from late Oligocene rainforest assemblages of central Australia. In contrast, the extant Koala Phascolarctos cinereus Blainville, 1816 (the only surviving member of a once diverse family) is found only in eastern Australian open woodlands. Extinction of koalas from rainforests was previously thought to have occurred after the middle Miocene.
For a species to be listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN its population must have declined by 30 per cent or more over 10 years or its last three generations. Nationally, koalas have declined by 29 per cent over the past 20 years, but if populations are split into northern and southern states, the decline is 38 per cent on average across NSW and Queensland and 23 per cent across Victoria and South Australia. These figures, however, don't tell the whole story
Koalas occur through vast areas of dry woodland elsewhere in Queensland where dogs, cars and disease pose less of a threat. But there have been population crashes in these areas as well, due to drought and high temperatures, both of which can cause mass death in populations. Some koalas may survive these conditions if they live along creek lines with permanent water, where the moisture content of leaves remains high. From these refuges, they can eventually re-establish in dry woodlands after drought, but this is becoming harder as climate change brings more frequent droughts and higher, more extreme temperatures.
Koalas are now listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Endangered Species and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Koalas in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory are officially Vulnerable, while koalas in Victoria and South Australia aren't considered threatened.