A Koala lives exclusively in trees and only feeds on eucalyptus leaves. Eucalyptus leaves are toxic to most animals, and are low in nutrition and do not supply koalas with reserves of energy or fat. To conserve energy they do not move unless they require food and spend most of their non-eating time sleeping which is between 18 and 20 hours a day.
The Koala has five digits on their front paws; and has two thumbs and three fingers which helps them to grip firmly onto the branches. Males are up to 50 percent larger than females and have a broader face. Mature males have a dark scent gland in the centre of their chest which excretes a sticky substance which they use to rub on trees to mark their territory.
Baby Koalas are called Joeys and are born the size of a peanut. They are blind, furless and their ears are not fully developed. They stay in the mother’s pouch until they are 6-7 months of age. After this, they will stay with mum, riding on either her back or abdomen, though still returning to the pouch for milk. By 12 months of age, they are fully independant of their mother.