Society & Culture & Entertainment Education

Facts About Koalas That Show a Part of an Ecosystem

    Koalas Have a Home Range

    • Each koala has a home range of trees.koala image by Gerd Reiber from Fotolia.com

      A koala's home range includes trees for shelter, food and socializing. The size of home range varies depending on its quality. A koala's home range boundary is marked by particular trees recognizable to the koalas. Of the more than 600 varieties of eucalyptus in Australia, koalas will eat from only 40 to 50 and they prefer only 10. Because koalas are sociable they require adequate healthy land that supports individual koalas coming into contact with others to form societies. Land clearing of trees removes koala habitat and upsets their ecosystem.

    Koala and Drought

    • Koalas are at risk when crossing roads in search of water.next 12 km image by tane koa from Fotolia.com

      Koalas are nocturnal and crepuscular, active at night and at dawn and dusk. Being active when the air is cooler reduces the amount of moisture they lose. Leaves provide much of a koala's moisture. But when drought strikes Australia, koalas suffer the effects. The eucalyptus trees become drier and the koalas need to drink more water. Koalas risk being struck by cars when they are forced to cross roads seeking water, and they become vulnerable to attacks by domesticated animals when they enter yards that contain a source of water. In some areas of Australia, residents are encouraged to plant eucalyptus trees to provide additional habitat for koalas in times of need.

    Koala Physiology

    • Thick fur cushions koalas as they sleep.koala image by Sandi Chetwynd from Fotolia.com

      Koalas are adapted to life in the trees. Arms and legs of nearly equal length contribute to their balance and ability to navigate branches. Claws, and rough pads on palms and soles allow for gripping. On the front paws two fingers are opposed to the other three---similar to a human hand's four fingers with opposable thumb---allowing the koala to form a grip. Thick fur cushions the animals as they feed, rest and sleep. Koalas inhabit a specific niche in the eucalyptus forest ecosystem.

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