Koalas look like cute, cuddly teddy bears, but they’re not even related to bears. Koalas are marsupials like kangaroos, possums and Tasmanian devils. These slow-moving animals eat only one kind of food – eucalyptus leaves. Eucalyptus is a tree with thick, fragrant leaves that are poisonous to people and other animals. Koalas have special bacteria in their stomachs that make the leaves safe to eat.
Koalas are nocturnal. They eat leaves during the night and sleep or rest during the day. They are very good at climbing trees and like to sit in branches to nap. They come down to the ground only when moving to a new tree, which is a good thing. Because they move so slowly, dogs and dingoes can catch and hurt them. Sometimes they get hit by cars too. They are safest in the trees.
Fun Facts about Koalas for Kids
- New koala babies are the size of a jelly bean. They can’t see or hear. They crawl into their mothers’ pouch and stay there for up to six months. Then baby koalas ride on moms’ backs for a few more months before they’re ready to go it alone.
- Kangaroos have a pouch like a pocket. It opens toward the animal’s head. Koalas have pouches that open toward the animal’s hind legs. This is to keep dirt out of the pouch.
- Koalas have sharp claws for climbing.
- Koalas communicate with each other. They snore, grunt, screech or even scream.
- Eucalyptus: a tree with fragrant leaves
- Bacteria: microscopic life forms
- Nocturnal: awake at night
- Communicate: Talk, express needs
Learn More All About Koalas
Take a look at this interesting koala video:
A documentary video about koalas’ lives in Australia.
Question: How much do koalas eat?
Answer: Eucalyptus leaves aren’t very nutritious so koalas have to eat a lot. They eat as much as 2 pounds each day. They keep leaves stuffed in their mouths for a later snack.
Question: Are koalas endangered?
Answer: They are not endangered yet, but scientists are keeping an eye on them. A disease is killing many of them.