National Geographic: Australias Animal Mysteries

Synopsis:
Year:
1999
18 Views


poll is Australia's pride and joy,

the cuddlesome koala.

...Straight over your shoulder

towards the camera.

Chin up. And thank you.

Okay miss, just watching me, please.

Oh, you've got a beautiful smile,

dimples and all.

How about that, eh?

Captured young,

koalas come to accept humans.

Even in the wild, they are basically

unaggressive if undisturbed.

Life for the wild koala revolves in

and around forests of eucalyptus trees

throughout eastern Australia.

On the ground just to move from

tree to tree,

the koala spends almost all

its time high in the branches.

It has developed highly

specialized adaptations

for its arboreal life...

long arms, well-padded paws,

and opposable thumbs with

a vice-like grip.

Not only home and shelter,

eucalyptus trees provide the koala

with its primary food.

It eats about two pounds of leaves a day.

Despite superficial resemblance,

the so-called koala "bear"

is not a bear at all,

but a true marsupial a

pouched animal like the kangaroo.

After birth the young will stay in the

mother's pouch for about six months.

When strong enough to leave the pouch,

it will do so only intermittently,

and for the next few months will

travel everywhere with its mother,

clinging either to her back or chest.

The koala has inspired myriad reactions

from observers over the centuries.

One author has written:

"The koala's expression always reminds

me of a Byzantine Madonna

or some dowager duchess...

rather bored, well-fed and well-bred...

But many aborigines saw something

quite different

to them the koala represented

the reincarnation

of the spirits of lost children.

A research team from Queensland's

National Parks and Wildlife Service

is studying the koala's ecology and

reproduction in the wild.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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