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Koalas

Shira Yehudit Djlilmand

Koalas may look like cuddly teddy bears — and in fact their scientific name, given by Europeans, actually means “ash-gray pouched bear.” They also have lots of “bear” nicknames, such as “monkey bear,” “tree bear,” and “native bear.” But koalas actually are not related to the bear family at all, but are members of another family, the marsupials.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

There is really only one species of koala, although there are three types within that species, living in different parts of Australia and weighing between 10 to 30 pounds (5–15 kilos), depending on their type. All koalas have soft, grayish fur, but in the hot north, the Queensland koalas are smaller, with much less fur. Koalas in New South Wales, the central part of the eastern Australian coast, are what people think of as the “typical” koala, with thicker fur than their northern cousins, but not as thick as those in the south. Victoria, in Southern Australia, is much colder, and so the koalas there, which are often brown rather than gray, have much thicker, long, shaggy fur. Southern koalas can also be almost twice as big as those in the north.

 

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