1 The koala is a cute animal that looks like a teddy bear, but it is not really a bear. The koala is a marsupial, which means it has a pouch like a kangaroo. The koala mother carries the babies in her pouch until they grow. Like kangaroo babies, koala babies are called joeys.
2 Koalas are native to Australia. They live together in groups, just like people. The slow moving koalas mainly stay up in the trees. This keeps them away from most predators and close to their food.
3 The natives in Australia have known about the koala for thousands of years. But when Europeans arrived on the continent, it took eleven years for them to spot the first koala. This is because the animal’s camouflage is so effective. January 1789 is the date of the first known record of a European seeing a koala.
4 Koalas are herbivores. That means they eat no meat, only plants. They feast on the leaves of the eucalyptus (YOO-kuh-LIP-tuhs) trees in which they live. An adult koala eats about a pound and a half of leaves every day. The koala has a slow metabolism and spends most of the day sleeping. Koalas can live up to about eighteen years in captivity. No one really knows how long they live in the wild because they are so hard to observe.