Koalas were first seen by early European settlers in Australia believing that these tree-climbing creatures were monkeys or bears. Centuries later, mankind still inaccurately call them “koala bears”. People don’t even know that these adorable beings are technically marsupials, and are more related to kangaroos and wombats. Female koalas are born with pouches in their stomach where the joey (baby koala) can rest peacefully until they completely develop. Mommy koalas have a powerful sphincter muscle that ensures the pouch is closed to keep the joey from falling out. They have unusual physical features that support their tree-dwelling lifestyle. These charming marsupials have tough thigh muscles to help them climb, sturdy textured skin on the base of their feet and long fine claws that provide traction. The cartilaginous pad on the base of their spines and the extra thick fur on their bottoms supply natural padding, allowing them to relax on branches comfortably for hours.
These furry animals have exclusive biological processes that allow them to consume eucalyptus leaves. They are equipped with forepaws that are opposable digits that allow them to easily grasp onto branches and to effortlessly gather eucalyptus leaves, which are their primary source of nourishment. Koalas utilize their exceptional sense of smell to search for premium tasting leaves since they are really choosy eaters. Even though there are 600 kinds of eucalyptus trees, they mostly minimize their diet to two or three various kinds. Moreover, their favorite food to munch on are very fibrous, but are poisonous if consumed by other animals. Koalas posses a special bacteria in their stomachs that dissolve the toxic oils and fiber, and enable them to ingest at least 25 percent of the nutrients. To be able to endure their low calorie diet, they have to preserve their energy by moving slowly and sleeping for about 20 hours a day.