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. In the 21st cent. increasingly severe bushfires have become a threat to the species.

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.

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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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

koala

, koala bear
a slow-moving Australian arboreal marsupial, Phascolarctus cinereus, having dense greyish fur and feeding on eucalyptus leaves and bark
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"While we think all of our koalas are cute, Tallow now has the title of officially being Australia's cutest koala joey, which is a pretty big deal in the koala world," he said.
Dr Valentina Mella, said: "Our results show koalas will regularly use these stations to supplement their needs."
Koalas need a lot of space-about a hundred trees per animal-a pressing problem as Australia's woodlands continue to shrink.
Tsimikas, the ingredients of the eucalyptus smoothie are just pureed eucalyptus leaves that "go down fast and easy." These naturally have a nice mix of carbohydrates, fat, and protein to better manage the koala's sugars and other nutritional needs.
Head of living collections at Edinburgh Zoo, Darren McGarry, said: "Koalas are very sensitive animals, so special care needs to be taken when transporting them.
Humans have been a threat to koalas since the 1800's, and our impact is still affecting them.
"The culprit even put gum leaves next to the koala ...
As the two cuddly Koalas sweat it out on the road, we can only hope that both the players don't have to sweat it out like that in the commentary box.
The color scheme also represents one of the most endangered animals in the world, the panda." The initial limited release launch of Endangered Apparel is focusing on four animals: panda, lion, koala, and elephant.
Male koala downed the female koala forcibly in the fight.
"He was a koala that knew his own mind," Fitzgerald told AFP.