Mammal

Koala

Area: 
Australia
Habitat: 
Eucalyptus forests
Food: 
Leaves, especially eucalyptus
Size: 
2 to 3 feet long
Babies: 
Joeys are about the size of a large jellybean when they are born.
Koalas eat a little bit of dirt every so often—it helps their stomach digest eucalyptus leaves!
I'm Not a Bear!

 

Koalas are often called bears because they look a little like teddy bears, but they are actually marsupials. Like other marsupials, the female has a pouch where she carries her baby, called a joey, for several months after birthThe beginning of an animal's life.. When a joey is strong enough to cling to its mother's back, it leaves the pouch but still sticks its head in to nurse.

 

Koalas are known as picky eaters. There are hundreds of different types of eucalyptus, but koalas only eat a few dozen kinds. And koalas won’t eat every leaf off of each branch. In fact, at the San Diego Zoo, we offer each koala 25 pounds of fresh eucalyptus each day, and each only eats about 1.5 pounds of it. We give them a lot to choose from because they know what's best!

 

While koalas currently aren’t listed as an endangeredAnimals or plants that survive in such low numbers that they could become extinct in a few years unless something is done to help the populations increase. speciesA group of individuals that have many of the same characteristics, and are different from all other animals in some important way. Hamsters and mice are two different species of rodent., 80 percent of koala habitatWhere an animal or plant normally lives and grows. has been lost to human homes and businesses, droughtAn extended time when little or no rain falls, causing a water shortage for plants and animals., and fires. That makes life hard for an animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs. that needs eucalyptus forests to survive, like koalas do. Koalas also are at risk when close to human populations and being killed by cars or dogs. Many people are working together to protect koala habitatWhere an animal or plant normally lives and grows. and help these cuddly looking creatures survive.