Koalas - Phascolarctos cinereus
One of Australia’s most iconic animals, the Koala is bear-like in appearance with a stout body and large paws, but is in fact a marsupial. The fur is predominantly grey to light brown, being lighter and shorter in the warmer north of its range, where the koala is also smaller. The chin, chest, insides of the ears and forelimbs are white, with long, white hairs edging the large, round ears. The grey rump is speckled with white.
The Koala is well adapted to a life spent mainly in the canopy of trees, possessing unusually long forelimbs in relation to their hind limbs, and specially adapted, padded paws to aid in gripping and climbing. |
The male Koala is larger with a broader face than the female. Mature males are further distinguishable from females by a brown gland on the chest that produces scent used to mark trees within their territory. Like other marsupials, the female Koala has a pouch with a strong, contracting, ring-shaped muscle around the backwards-facing opening, which prevents the young from falling out. Found only in Australia, the koala occurs in a band down the eastern and southern coasts and inland areas of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, as well as on islands off Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
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