Most of us are guilty of watching cute koala videos on YouTube for hours on end. Well, who on earth can resist these adorable cuties! But today, let’s get our facts checked about these cuddly critters to know how important it has become to volunteer koala sanctuary.
1.) Eucalyptus leaves are the staple diet for these lazy marsupials. In contrast to their tiny size, they munch on an enormous amount of keenly selected nutrition-rich leaves – approximately two and a half pounds a day. They are not much keen on beverage and get all the hydration they need from these leaves itself. So, it definitely does not come as a surprise to us that their name is derived from an aboriginal term meaning “no drink.” The eastern coastal side of Australia is dotted most densely with eucalyptus trees, which is why koalas make this area their home. Sadly, their population has come under serious threat due to the reckless deforestation that is going on in this area.
2.) Although they have a distinct digestive system to churn up the tough eucalyptus leaves and stay unaffected by its toxin tannins, yet the infamous essential oil of the plant still taints them with its perfume which is reminiscent of cough syrup. So yeah, koalas might smell faintly of Benadryl.
3.) Koalas can range from about 60 to 85 cm (24 to 33 inches) long and weigh up to 14 kg (31 pounds) in the southern part of its range (Victoria), but only about half that in subtropical Queensland to the north.
4.) Even after munching on carefully selected bunch of leaves, they are not supplied with enough energy since these leaves are not exactly dense with nutrients. So, you cannot blame these cuties for napping all day. They can nap for as long as 18 hours on a stretch and wake up only to fuel themselves at night with their favourite leaves.
5.) Koalas are marsupials, meaning their babies develop only partially in their wombs, and the rest of the development takes place in the comfort of the cosy pouch of the momma koala. They are not placental or “eutherian” mammals like bears; so, you might want to stop yourself the next time you refer to them as koala “bear” erroneously. They are a closer relative to kangaroos than bears.
6.) When a Joey is born, it makes its way into the mother’s pouch with no eyesight or ears developed. However, baby koalas are blessed with an incredible sense of smell and touch through which it finds its way. It may take up to six months of time to develop into a complete infant after that it clings to its mother’s back for another six months or so. However, mealtimes are always spent in the pouch.
7.) Although the koala population dipped drastically during the 1920s and 30s due to overhunting, today habitat loss stands as the biggest threat to the koala population. It is not just planned deforestation that is taking away their habitat. There are natural bushfires, diseases in the eucalyptus tree itself that is causing them to die and, of course, illegal poaching that is diminishing their number constantly.
8.) Even though these stunning tree-dwelling marsupials have been protected by law and aren’t classed as an endangered animal, yet human activities and natural calamities have wiped off as much as 80% of the koala habitat. This is exactly why we need volunteer koala sanctuary now, more than ever.
So, now that you know so many eye-opening facts about these beautiful creatures, make sure to put this knowledge to the good test for your next vacation.