Koalas are a marsupial and they live on the East Coast of Australia. They are bear-like in appearance and are covered with a thick coating of grey or brown fur. The Koala has large furry ears. It lives in Eucalyptus forests as these trees are their only source of food.
Koalas have many structural adaptations that help them to survive in their bushland environment. Some of these are: large thigh muscles, thick fur, a large nose, large furry ears, and pouches for their young. Koalas use their large thigh muscles and opposable thumbs to help them to climb up the sides of steep eucalyptus trees.
Their thick fur keeps them warm and also helps to repel moisture when it is raining. They have a large nose that gives them a keen sense of smell. This enables them to sniff out the right type of eucalyptus leaves. Koala’s ears are large so that they can hear the sounds of fellow koalas that are nearby. The last structural adaptation the female koala has is its pouch. The pouch is used to carry the baby koalas in until they are old enough to climb themselves. There are many behavioural adaptations that the Koala makes in order to help it survive in its environment. They tend to live in a home range, they can make deep grunting noises, and they are able to go a long time without drinking water. The koalas home range is a usually within a range of about 3 square kilometres. They tend to stay in this range and have their favourite trees within this range. Their range may overlap with other koalas range as shown in the diagram. You can see that Lulu’s range overlaps with
Arnie’s range. The Koalas also make a deep grunting noise. They do this in order to show dominance if there are other Koalas that threaten them. They also make this sound to call to other koalas during mating time. The final behavioural adaptation that Koalas have is that they are able to go a long time without water. They are able to acquire enough liquid to survive from the eucalyptus leaves that they eat. They usually only need to drink during times of drought. There are many threats to the koalas’ survival and this is an example of why they are a vulnerable species. Some of the threats that are the greatest obstacle in their survival is the deforestation of their habitat and their crossing of busy roads. Land that was once their home have had their trees removed and houses built. This loss of habitat will mean that Koalas will need to travel further to find more trees meaning they may need to cross busy highways and roads to find more trees. Many koalas are killed each year when they are crossing busy roads to find more food. Koalas are an interesting animal that have made many structural and behavioural adaptations in order to survive. The main threat to koalas’ survival are humans with their deforestation of koala habitat and the building of roads within koalas’ home ranges. The koala foundation of Australia has developed the slogan ‘NO Tree, NO me’ to highlight the plight of the Koala.