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Heakola bear Trivia
Though often called the koala "bear," this cuddly animal is not a bear at all; it is a marsupial, or pouched mammal. After giving birth, a female koala carries her baby in her pouch for about six months. When the infant emerges, it rides on its mother's back or clings to her belly, accompanying her everywhere until it is about a year old.

Koalas live in eastern Australia, where the eucalyptus trees they love are most plentiful. In fact, they rarely leave these trees, and their sharp claws and opposable digits easily keep them aloft. During the day they doze, tucked into forks or nooks in the trees, sleeping for up to 18 hours.

Koalas do not drink much water and they get most of their moisture from these leaves. Each animal eats a tremendous amount for its size—about two and a half pounds (one kilogram) of leaves a day. Koalas even store snacks of leaves in pouches in their cheeks.

A special digestive system—a long gut—allows koalas to break down the tough eucalyptus leaves and remain unharmed by their poison. Koalas eat so many of these leaves that they take on a distinctive odor from their oil, reminiscent of cough drops.

These plump, fuzzy mammals were widely hunted during the 1920s and 1930s, and their populations plunged. Helped by reintroduction, they have reappeared over much of their former range, but their populations are smaller and scattered. Koalas need a lot of space—about a hundred trees per animal—a pressing problem as Australia's woodlands continue to shrink.

Koalas are native to southeastern and eastern Australia, living in forests of eucalyptus trees. They are basically sedentary animals that need to sleep a lot to give them time to digest their food. Being on the ground all the time would be a disadvantage because predators could catch them easily. Instead, they adapted to live way up in eucalyptus trees, rear end firmly planted in the fork of branches, so they can chew leaves and nap all they want to without feeling threatened.

Eucalyptus forests are home, shelter, and food for koalas. The animals are built to live in the crooks of branches: koalas have a reduced tail, a curved spine, and a rounded rear end. But they do travel on the ground when necessary, to get from tree to tree or to a new area. On hot days, koalas select the coolest trees and the coolest locations in those trees (against the trunk and other low, shaded branches) for resting. On cooler days, koalas are more likely to rest farther away from the trunk where they can absorb heat from the sun.

Koalas have few natural predators, although sometimes a dingo or large owl can take one. The most common direct causes of koala deaths are from motor vehicles and dogs. Koalas are definitely safest high up in trees.
Have you ever heard someone refer to a koala as a "koala bear?" Well, like bears, koalas are mammals, and they have round, fuzzy ears and look cute and cuddly, like a teddy bear. But koalas are not born. Marsupials include kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, wombats, possums, and opossums. Koalas look soft, but their fur feels like the coarse wool of a sheep. They also seem cuddly, but koalas are wild animals and don't make good pets.