Find out more about these cute creatures before you spot them in the Blue Mountains
There is no doubt that the Australian Koala is the country’s most beloved animals. Scattered about Australia’s treetops, and capturing the hearts of both the locals and tourists. However, many of these people might be surprised that they might not know these creatures as well as they think, with the Koalas having a range of interesting features that make them unique.
As it is the main food source, Koalas are mostly found in eucalypt forests. In the Blue Mountains, Eucalyptus trees are found everywhere, even being the reason for the mountains being named ‘blue’. All due to the oil in the eucalyptus leaves slowly evaporating into the air, creating a blue mist around the mountains which can only be seen from afar. Typically, koalas choose one of these eucalyptus trees, and remain here for long periods of time, only moving to find more food or to breed. When visiting this region, simply look for the large forks of branches, as this is typically where the creatures park themselves.
Koalas are commonly referred to as Koala bears, but they are in fact not bears at all, but marsupials. These are a type of mammal that has small pouches, used by their young which are born immature, so the babies can slowly develop further from the safety of a pouch.
Their Daily Life
Koalas are mostly nocturnal animals, spending the majority of their day sleeping. They are one of the longest sleepers around, spending a total of about 18-20 hours each day snoozing. When awake, they devote their time to eating large amounts of eucalyptus leaves, which averages to about 200 to 500 grams of leaves per day.
Due to the Koalas spending majority of their time in trees, their bodies have slowly developed to cater to this environment. They have 5 digits on each front paw, with two of which are opposed to the others, similar to our thumbs. This helps them move around by clinging to branches better. The 2nd and 3rd digits on their hind paws are fused to form a grooming claw.
Their Food Intake
Eucalyptus leaves are tough and low in nutrition, with no other species consuming them due to them being poisonous. However, Koala’s have evolved over the years to be able to digest these leaves, developing a specialised digestive system. They have an extremely slow metabolic rate, able to digest leaves slower and maximises the energy extracted. Koala is an Aboriginal word for ‘no drink’, as it was once thought that koalas didn’t need to drink because of the moisture they get from the leaves. But the creatures they do drink from various water sources when needed.
Related article: What wildlife can you spot within the Blue Mountains?
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