Koala or koala

22 January, 2011


Koala or koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) - The only kind of a family of koalas, koala lives in eastern Australia.
Koala - the small beast of a dense body, body length of 60-82 cm, weight from 5 до 16 kg. The tail is very short koalas, invisible from the outside, Head large and broad, large ears, eyes are small. The coat is dense and soft koala, on the back color changes from light gray to dark gray, sometimes reddish or reddish, belly lighter.

Size and color depends on koala habitat, both koalas Victoria larger, they have a thick fur is dark gray, often with a brownish tinge on the back. In tropical and subtropical Квинсленде koalas are much smaller and lighter, fur they have fewer and shorter.

The limbs are adapted to climbing koala - the thumb and index fingers fore and hind limbs contrasted with the rest of the, that allows the koala to grasp the branches of trees, on the thumb claw of the hind limbs absent. Claws strong and sharp, capable of withstanding the weight of the animal. Koalas - one of the few non-primate, with a papillary pattern on the fingertips, fingerprints of koalas are indistinguishable from human fingerprints, even under an electron microscope.

Koalas are usually silent, and served only to vote during the breeding season, or in case of danger, frightened or injured koala cries and "crying", as a child.

Called a koala bear because the marsupial koala face is a bit like a bear, and the location of the brood pouch and the dental formula brings him to the wombats, with whom he apparently, had a common ancestor.

Koalas inhabit eucalypt forests and spending most of his life in the crowns of these trees. Day of the koala sleeps 18-22 hours a day, and at night climbs trees, looking for food. Even if the koala is not sleeping, it usually sits perfectly still for hours, clasping a branch or tree trunk forepaws. Koala down to earth only to move to a new tree, to which you can not jump so far, koalas and jumping from tree to tree on a surprisingly clever and confident.

Slowness koalas connected with the peculiarities of his power. He has adapted to feed almost exclusively on eucalyptus leaves and shoots, which contain little fiber and protein, but contain many phenolic and terpene compounds, toxic to most animals. Besides, young shoots, especially closer to the fall, contain hydrocyanic acid. Due to their toxic properties of the food competition from other animals from koalas extremely small - except him eat only eucalyptus leaves koltsehvosty marsupial opossum and flying squirrel.

In order not to poison, koalas are choosing to eat only those types of eucalyptus trees, which contain less phenolic compounds, and prefer trees, growing on fertile soils (especially along river banks), whose leaves of poison concentration below, than that of eucalyptus, growing on poor, marginal lands. As a consequence,, from 800 koalas eat eucalyptus species of 120 species. Choose an appropriate food koalas, apparently, developed sense of smell helps. In captivity, where the choice of the animal is usually less, it can even result in food poisoning cumulative effect.
The rate of metabolism in the body koalas almost two times less, than most mammals (with the exception of wombats and sloths), - It helps him to compensate for low nutritional diet. On the day of the koala is required 0,5 до 1,1 kg of leaves, which he carefully grinds and chews, the mass is accumulating in the cheek pouches. Like all mammals, eating fibrous vegetable foods, for koalas in the digestive tract there is a rich flora, including bacteria, transform the cellulose into digestible unpalatable compounds. Cecum, which is in the process of digestion, highly developed, reaching a length of 2,4 m. Toxic substances, getting into the blood, detoxified in the liver.


"Koala" in the language of the tribes New South Wales means "no drink", - All the necessary moisture gets koala eucalyptus leaves, and from the dew on the leaves. The water they drink only during periods of prolonged drought and during sickness. To compensate for a deficiency of minerals in the body, koalas from time to time, eat the earth.

Natural regulator of these animals in nature do not exist - indigenous predators do not hunt for them; on koalas and dingoes attacking only wild dogs. But koalas are often ill. Cystitis, periostitis of the skull, conjunctivitis, sinusitis - their usual disease; sinusitis often leads to inflammation of the lungs, particularly cold winter.

Female koalas are solitary lifestyle and adhere to their sites, which rarely leave. In the fertile fields of areas individuals often overlap. Males are not territorial, but even less sociable - at a meeting, especially during the breeding season, They often attack each other, inflicting injury.

Only during the breeding season, which lasts from October to February, koalas gather groups, consisting of an adult male and several females. At this time, males often rub their breasts on trees, leaving odorous marks, and make loud cries of enlistment, sometimes heard by a mile. Since males are born less, than females, around male koalas in breeding season gather harems of 2-5 females. Mating takes place on the tree (optional eucalyptus).

Pregnancy lasts 30-35 days. The litter of one cub, which has a length at birth of 15-18 mm and a weight of about 5,5 g; occasionally twins. The calf is in the bag for 6 месяцев, feeding on milk, and then another six months "travels" on the back or on the mother's abdomen, clinging to her fur. At 30 weeks of age, he starts to eat excrement semi mother, consisting of a kind of half-digested pulp of eucalyptus leaves, - In this way in the digestive tract of young koalas fall microorganisms, necessary for the digestive process. This mush mother releases about a month. At the age of years cubs become independent - young females aged 12-18 months to go and find areas, but males are often left with their mothers up to 2-3 years.
Koalas breed every 1-2 years. Sexual maturity in females occurs in 2-3 years, males - in 3-4 years. On average, the koala lives 12-13 years, Although there are cases, when they lived to the age of 20.

Before the arrival of Europeans leading cause koalas were, drought and fires. In the XIX-XX centuries, the koala became target species because of their thick fur. Only 1924 , of the eastern states have been exported 2 million. skins.

Trust in people, These "Bears" became easy prey for hunters. The sharp decline in the number of the beast forced the Australian government first limit, and 1927 year and ban hunting koalas, but only to the 1953-1954 years in their population began to recover slowly. In Australia, the koala parks created Lone Pine Koala for Brisbane and Cone Koala Park at Perth.



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