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Koala Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

A koala is an animal that can only be found in the wild on one continent. This lesson will teach you about koalas, where they live, what food they eat and some cool facts about them, too!

What is a Koala?

Imagine you are walking through the forest when, up in a tree, you see an animal that is very furry, with two little eyes, a big black nose, and fluffy round ears. It almost looks like a stuffed toy animal, but it's very real! Come meet the koala!

A koala is an Australian animal that lives in trees, has thick, gray fur, and sharp claws. When they are fully grown, they weigh about 9-20 pounds.

Koala
Koala

Koalas are sometimes called koala bears, but they aren't actually bears! Just like kangaroos, koalas are marsupials (pronounced mar-SOO-pee-ulz), which means they have a pocket of skin, called a pouch, on their stomach where they carry their babies, called joeys.

When they are little, joeys drink their mother's milk and eat a soft material called pap. It's like mushy baby food, and there are bacteria in it that the joey will need when it gets older and eats leaves instead of milk.

Koala Mother and Joey
Koala Mother and Joey

When the joeys get big enough, they will eventually ride along on their mother's back! While Koalas don't mind, your mom might not be too happy about giving you a piggy-back ride everywhere!

What do Koalas Eat?

Koalas are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants. They are choosy eaters, too, and only eat eucalyptus (pronounced you-kuh-LIP-tuss) leaves. They usually spend about three hours eating, usually munching during the night. The eucalyptus leaves that koalas like are very tough and stringy, as well as poisonous!

Remember the pap that koalas ate when they were little? The bacteria that they got from eating pap helps them break down the leaves without getting sick from the poison. They also have a special organ in their body that helps them safely break down and digest the leaves. Aren't you glad you get to eat pizza instead of poisonous leaves?

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