IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Description

Koalas are bear-like in appearance, with a stout body and large paws, but are in fact marsupials, not bears. Their fur is predominantly grey to light brown, being lighter and shorter in the warmer north of their range, where the koalas are also smaller (3). The chin, chest and insides of the ears and forelimbs are white, with white speckling on the rump and long white hairs edging the large, round ears. Koalas are adapted to life spent mainly in the trees, with a vestigial tail, and unusually long forelimbs in relation to their hind limbs, and specially adapted paws to aid in gripping and climbing. They have large claws and rough pads on their paws. The first and second digits of the front paws, as well as the first digits of the hind paws, are opposed to the others, like thumbs, to help to grip branches. The first digit of each hind paw has no claw, and the second and third digits are partially fused together to form a grooming claw for removing ticks (5). Males are larger and heavier than females, with a broader face. Mature males are distinguishable from females as they have a brown gland on their chests that produces scent used to mark trees within the territory. Being marsupials, the females have a pouch with a backwards-facing opening and a strong, contracting ring-shaped muscle at the pouch opening which prevents the young from falling out (5).

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Source: ARKive

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