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5 Mar 2018

23 Facts You Didn't Know About Koalas

Wouldn't it be great to sleep 18-20 hours a day?!

1. The name koala stems from an Aboriginal word meaning "no water".

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2. Which makes sense, since koalas get their water from eucalyptus leaves, they don’t actually drink it.

Sohan Judge/BuzzFeed

The leaves contain 70% water, the rest mainly consisting of fibres and only a fraction actually contains nutrients.

3. The common belief that eucalyptus makes koalas "stoned" is completely false.

Matthias Duebbert/BuzzFeed

4. The reason they sleep so much is due to the lack of nutrients in eucalyptus.

Flying Bark Productions / Via giphy.com

As a result of their low-nutrient diet, koalas sleep 18-20 hours to conserve energy.

5. Even though they look sweet, koalas are feisty little warriors.

Tookie Wilson Productions / Via giphy.com

Male koalas can fight viciously when it comes to their territories, and they even fight over specific trees.

6. Koala fur differs throughout Australia.

Matthias Duebbert/BuzzFeed

Koalas in the south have longer, shaggier fur to keep them warm in winter.

7. It is a misconception that koalas are solitary.

Youtube: koalawrangler / Via youtube.com

They actually live in the form of a loose community. The dominant male and female live at the centre of their territories, while the less dominant animals live on the outskirts.

8. Like most marsupials, koala babies are tiny when born.

Matthias Duebbert/BuzzFeed

People often refer to them as "pinkies", being only the size of a gummy bear.

9. Due to the eucalyptus oils in their diet, koalas have a very strong liver that clears out the toxins.

TXN / Via tenor.com

10. Which can make it a tough job for vets to work out the correct concentration of medication to administer.

Fuji TV / Via hunterxhunter.wikia.com

With every cycle of the blood through the body, the liver degrades the amount of medication in the blood stream.

11. Koalas have the ability to sense when eucalyptus becomes toxic, through smell.

Youtube: Symbio Wildlife Park / Via youtube.com

Depending on the season, the water content of the eucalyptus leaves can drop, leaving the toxic oils at a higher concentration.

12. While there are over 900 species of eucalyptus, koalas only eat 60 species.

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13. Koalas have a really long... cecum.

Matthias Duebbert/BuzzFeed

Helping to digest the fibre-rich diet, it’s an organ located at the beginning of the large intestine and is up to two meters long - in humans it is pretty much a dead-end.

14. Young koalas actually eat poo.

Youtube: Symbio Wildlife Park / Via youtube.com

It's known as "pap" and gets produced by their mothers. The young koalas eat it to gain bacteria necessary to digest eucalyptus.

15. Koalas technically have two "thumbs" and three fingers on each hand.

Matthias Duebbert/BuzzFeed

16. Like humans, koalas have unique fingerprints.

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They are the only other mammals besides primates to have them.

17. Koalas often suffer from a specific form of chlamydia.

evanmcohen.com / Via giphy.com

Humans have not been shown to get infected by the koala strains of the bacteria.

18. Koalas have a specially padded butt, so they can sleep comfortably anywhere.

Matthias Duebbert/BuzzFeed

19. The koala's penis forks into two ends, with the scrotum in front of the penii.

Youtube: Elin Nordlander / Via youtube.com

20. Koala cuddling has been banned in New South Wales since 1997.

Diesel / Via creativity-online.com

In Queensland, koalas can only be held for less than 30 minutes per day. This was decided to protect the cute looking animals from all the tourist attention.

21. Koala poo is the only food source for a certain species of moth.

evanmcohen.com / Via giphy.com

The caterpillar of the species Scatochresis episema lives all its life in the koala droppings, until undergoing metamorphosis to the adult moth.

22. In Australia, 80% of koala habitat has been lost to human homes, droughts, and forest fires.

Tookie Wilson Productions / Via giphy.com

23. Koalas are listed as vulnerable by the World Wildlife Fund and need our protection!

Matthias Duebbert/BuzzFeed

A great place to start and find out how to help, would be the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, Australia. Koalas that were found in the wild are taken in here to be looked after, until they can be re-released into the areas they were caught. The hospital is entirely financed by donations, and the help of volunteers from all over the world.

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