koala


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koala

(kōä`lə), arboreal marsupialmarsupial
, member of the order Marsupialia, or pouched mammals. With the exception of the New World opossums and an obscure S American family (Caenolestidae), marsupials are now found only in Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, and a few adjacent islands.
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, or pouched mammal, Phascolarctos cinereus, native to Australia. Although it is sometimes called koala bear, or Australian bear, and is somewhat bearlike in appearance, it is not related to true bears. Once abundant, it is now found in much-reduced numbers in Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales.

The koala has thick, grayish fur, a tailless body 2 to 2 1-2 ft (60–75 cm) long, a protuberant, curved, black nose, and large, furry ears. The five sharply clawed toes on each foot enable it to grasp and climb. A slow-moving, nocturnal animal, the koala has perhaps the most specialized diet of any living mammal; it feeds on leaves and shoots of a particular stage of maturation from particular species of eucalyptus. In addition to the vocal folds in the larynx, the koala has a pair of larger, thicker velar vocal folds (part of the soft palate) that are used to produce very low-pitched mating calls.

The single cub is about 3-4 in (1.9 cm) long at birth and is nursed in the mother's pouch, from which it emerges for the first time when about six months old. Until it is about eight months old it continues to ride in the pouch, and until about a year of age it is carried on its mother's back or in her arms.

The harmless and defenseless koala has been ruthlessly hunted, chiefly for fur but also for food; disease and the clearing of the eucalyptus forests have also taken a heavy toll. Protective measures have been adopted to prevent its extinction, but loss of habitat and disease have led to continuing population losses, especially in Queensland, and the koala is considered vulnerable in parts of its range.

The koala is classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Phalangeridae.

koala

[kō′äl·ə]
(vertebrate zoology)
Phascolarctos cinereus. An arboreal marsupial mammal of the family Phalangeridae having large hairy ears, gray fir, and two clawed toes opposing three others on each limb.

koala

, koala bear
a slow-moving Australian arboreal marsupial, Phascolarctus cinereus, having dense greyish fur and feeding on eucalyptus leaves and bark
References in periodicals archive ?
Australia: Australia moved Monday to protect its most vulnerable koalas, listing the much-loved furry tree-dwellers as a threatened species in parts of the country.
This title is part of a series of books focused on koalas with a portion of the proceeds allocated to the Australian Wildlife Hospital established by Steve ("The Crocodile Hunter") and Terri Irwin.
Koalas are native to Australia and found in the wild in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
A young koala starts eating leaves soon after leaving the pouch, but it also continues to drink its mother's milk until it's about a year old.
The Great Dividing Range, which separates the eastern coast of Australia from the rest of the country, has been the traditional habitat for most of Australia's koalas, but it is now threatened by urban and agricultural sprawl.
To better understand and test ways to reduce koala road deaths, the Parks and Wildlife Service, the Queensland Department of Main Roads, and Redland Shire Council, initiated a koala speed zone trial to assess the effect of differential speed signs on the number of animals hit by vehicles on the Koala Coast from 1995 to 1999.
The team, which also included Yoshihiro Yamamoto, an assistant professor of genetics at the Hyogo College of Medicine, took DNA samples from root hair cells of 28 koala bears divided among the three subspecies.
We've never had a koala in the pool before," Stephen said, "but koalas love to swim.
pneumoniae have been documented in koalas, a horse, and most recently, a giant barred frog (Mixophyes iteratus) from Australia (6-8).
Rangers: Get more koala news from the Australian Koala Foundation's Web site: www.
For the koala is finicky: its diet consists solely of eucalyptus leaves.