Mammal Phascolarctos cinereus (Koala)

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
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Common Name: Koala

Scientific Name: Phascolarctos cinereus

Sub-class: Marsupial

Family: Phascolarctidae

Other Names:N/A

Distribution: Queensland , New South Wales , Victoria and South Australia .

Habitat: coastal islands and tall eucalypt forests to low woodlands inland.

Field Notes: Averages about 9kg (20lb) in weight. Its fur is thick and usually ash grey with a tinge of brown in places.
The koala gets its name from an ancient Aboriginal word meaning "no drink" because it receives over 90% of its hydration from the Eucalyptus leaves (also known as gum leaves) it eats, and only drinks when ill or times when there is not enough moisture in the leaves. ie during droughts etc.
The koala is the only mammal, other than the Greater Glider and Ringtail Possum, which can survive on a diet of eucalyptus leaves.
In Australia there are over 600 types of eucalypts, but koalas will only eat 40-50 varieties with only about 10 being preferred.
View attachment 1071View attachment 1072
Photos by Auscraft Sept 2011 Photos taken at Barambah Education Centre, in Tallowwood Gum

Interesting facts

Southern KoalasNorthern koalas
MALE:
Length: 75-82cm (Average: 78.2cm)
Weight: 9.5-14.9kg (Average: 12kg)
MALE:
Length: 67.4-73.6cm (Average: 70.5cm)
Weight: 4.2-9.1kg (Average: 6.5kg)
FEMALE:
Length: 68-73cm (Average: 71.6cm)
Weight: 7-11kg (Average: 8.5kg)
FEMALE:
Length: 64.8-72.3cm (Average: 68.7cm)
Weight: 4.1-7.3kg (Average: 5.1kg)
Note: 1Kg = 2.2lb, and 2.54cm = 1 inch
Source: The Mammals of Australia. Editor: Ronald Strahan, Australian Museum/Reed Books, 1998. (Page 196).
Also the southern is browner and has thicker fur .

Koalas are the only other animal, like humans, that have individual fingerprints. A scientific study compared human and koala fingerprints. Koala fingerprints are easily distinguishable from human ones but there are some similarities with human fingerprints. It was noted that each koala has a different fingerprint from other koalas, as in humans. More information on koala fingerprints can be found here: http://naturalscience.com/ns/articles/01-04/ns_hll.html
 
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Blake

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Photo of koala showing belly colouring

Photo by Blake July 2011 - Location: Australia Zoo

 

auscraft

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Nice pic of belly thanks to dusty and her photo taking abilities got plenty or its rear end.
 

Hairyman

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These pics were originally posted on 'What did you do today'
Looks like Koalas can swim but dont seem to enjoy the experience as he made lould distressed moaning sounds while in the water.
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Photos by Hairyman Nov 2011
 

J.K.M

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This shot was taken at You Yangs Regional Park, Victoria in July 2010. I and a friend saw it as it made it's way down to a water hole - a beautiful animal!

View attachment 7033
 
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Dusty

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Spotted crossing our highway on bend near home. We pulled over to make sure he made it safely to edge of road. This was meant to be cause semitrailer then appeared.
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Below Barambah caravan park. Has 5 residents. Did have 11 before bushfire.

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Aussie123

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Koala scats and scratches:

It took me ages to find the first scat, then they were everywhere ....

To the right of the coin:
P1260600 (Large).jpg

I moved this one onto some bark, for a clearer view (those "spotty" white dots are from sand, which was on the ground):
P1260601 (Large).jpg P1260602 (Large).jpg

An you can see I cut this one open. I was very surprised by how hard it was, a really solid "nugget". I guess that's because of the limited water in their diet, there just isn't much to excrete


Scratches on a tree:
P1260622 (Large).jpg

Look at the way this bark has been shredded:
P1260592 (Large).jpg

More Scratches:
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In this (large, several km) section of forest, the trees have been badly damaged by koala grazing. Some appear to be dead:
P1260598 (Large).jpg

Here's some scratching in action:
P1260617 (Large).jpg
 
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Hairyman

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Did the scats smell of eucalyptus when broken?
Just wondering how they deal with the toxic oils.
 

Aussie123

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Did the scats smell of eucalyptus when broken?
Just wondering how they deal with the toxic oils.
Good question, I was going to mention that.

It did smell of eucalyptus, but not as strong as say eucalyptus oil. Although the scat looked fairly fresh, it may have sat around for a while, and it was moderately hot and sunny.
I thought the scats were fairly small, considering the size of the animal, so its likely that one scat doesn’t actually contain many individual leaves; so I suspect that they do excrete much of the oil !

I can’t comment on the taste.
 

Dusty

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Thanks for showing koala scratches Aussie. All helps me with tracking. Great pic with koala climbing tree.
 

Dusty Miller

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Interesting how not all measurements change by the same amount with growth. The length of the row of molars is almost the same, but the ength of the skull has changed significantly
 

auscraft

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Southern KoalasNorthern koalas
MALE:
Length: 75-82cm (Average: 78.2cm)
Weight: 9.5-14.9kg (Average: 12kg)
MALE:
Length: 67.4-73.6cm (Average: 70.5cm)
Weight: 4.2-9.1kg (Average: 6.5kg)
FEMALE:
Length: 68-73cm (Average: 71.6cm)
Weight: 7-11kg (Average: 8.5kg)
FEMALE:
Length: 64.8-72.3cm (Average: 68.7cm)
Weight: 4.1-7.3kg (Average: 5.1kg)
Note: 1Kg = 2.2lb, and 2.54cm = 1 inch
Source: The Mammals of Australia. Editor: Ronald Strahan, Australian Museum/Reed Books, 1998. (Page 196).
Also the southern is browner and has thicker fur .

Koalas are the only other animal, like humans, that have individual fingerprints. A scientific study compared human and koala fingerprints. Koala fingerprints are easily distinguishable from human ones but there are some similarities with human fingerprints. It was noted that each koala has a different fingerprint from other koalas, as in humans. More information on koala fingerprints can be found here: http://naturalscience.com/ns/articles/01-04/ns_hll.html

 

Aussie123

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Did the scats smell of eucalyptus when broken?
Just wondering how they deal with the toxic oils.
A little update on an ancient thread:

Last week we were walking and found some more fresh scat (the koala was in the tree directly above).

The scat was fresh, "dry" and very hard to squeeze and had a subtle eucalyptus smell.
20160924_151452 (Small).jpg

I have been wondering if there is enough oil still in a fresh scat to be flammable ?

I pulled out a lighter ... the scat smouldered quite readily, but the flame did not take hold.
The scat was singed.

I think that it would not take much to get a scat to burn if it was dried some more; but that would be the fibers burning (as with any browser's scat)
the eucalyptus oil itself does not seem to be sufficient to burn when fresh.

The smouldering scat (while the flame was being applied) did give off a lovely eucalyptus aroma and was very pleasant !
 

Qually

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Interesting. Maybe the oil is digested like a vegetable fat leaving the less soluble fibres behind.
 
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