Koalas may look like cuddly teddy bears, but bears they are not. Koalas are marsupials, mammals that begin their lives in pouches. Just like a young kangaroo is called a joey – koalas are joeys, too.
Also, like kangaroos, koalas live only on the island country of Australia. Koalas are herbivores meaning they don’t eat meat. Known for being a leaf eating specialist, the koala’s diet consist of eating eucalyptus leaves of gum trees. The eucalyptus leaves are typically rather poisonous to most animal species, the koala’s digestive system has been specially adapted to be completely immune to it.
The leaves of the eucalyptus trees have little nutrition and leave koalas with little energy because of this koalas spend 18-20 hours a day sleeping!
Baby koalas have undeveloped digestive systems and are not able to process the vegetation that adult koalas normally eat. So, what exactly do baby koalas eat? When they’re too big to drink their mother’s milk, they have to transition to their leafy diet, they can’t do it all by themselves. They don’t have the right bacteria in their gut.
Koalas might seem cute, but the things that they do just aren’t! Koala babies wean themselves by licking a specialized feces from their mother’s anus – this gives them the bacteria necessary for them to digest the eucalyptus leaves. Know more.