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Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are herbivore marsupials that live in the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia. They are the only living species in the family Phascolarctidae. They are related to the wombats.
Koalas are often called koala bears, because a koala looks like a small bear or teddy bear. However, it is not a bear, it is quite a different type of animal.
Koalas have brownish-grey or silver-grey fur, and a big pink, dark red or/and black nose. They have sharp claws which help them to climb.
Koalas also have finger prints which look the same as human finger prints. Finger print experts have had difficulty in being able to tell if the prints are from a human or koala. Finger prints are rare among mammals that climb trees. Scientists do not know why the koala has them, but their best guess is that it helps the koala choose leaves to eat.
Koalas are mostly active at night. They live in trees and are rarely found on the ground. Koalas have two unusual characteristics. They eat leaves of eucalyptus trees. Koalas do not drink often, they get most of their water from the eucalyptus leaves they eat. Eucalyptus leaves are poisonous, but koalas do not get poisoned. This is because they have certain bacteria in their digestive tract that can detoxify the poison in the leaves. Koalas, however, have to sleep long hours because eucalyptus leaves do not produce much energy and also because the digestive process takes a long time.
Koalas have a peculiar way of cooling themselves. Unlike humans who sweat and other animals, which either pant or lick their fur to stay cool, koalas reduce their body heat by hugging a tree. The temperature of the trunks of certain trees is up to 9 degrees Celsius lower than the air temperature. Koalas prefer to stay on these trees on a hot day even if they do not have the tastiest leaves.
source : Kidzsearch