Koalas eat something other than eucalyptus

The diet of the koalas

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The diet of the koalas

The koalas feed exclusively on eucalyptus leaves. You've probably already sucked on eucalyptus candy when you had a sore throat. And eucalyptus candies are made from the leaves of eucalyptus trees. Not everyone likes them, but the koala bear loves them.

It should be noted that he is a real eucalyptus connoisseur. Because there are over 100 different types of eucalyptus trees and the koala only feeds on 5-10 of these species.

Eucalyptus tree
It's such a thing with the eucalyptus leaves. Not many animals feed on the leaves of eucalyptus trees because they are poisonous to most animals if you overeat them. The koala can tolerate the leaves, but it is very picky when it comes to foraging and pays close attention to which leaves it eats.

And since the leaves are not entirely unproblematic for him either, he takes a lot of time with digestion and therefore leads a more comfortable life. A normal daily routine for a koala consists of 1-2 hours of eating, 1-2 hours of walking, about 15 minutes of cleaning, and 18-21 of rest, digesting, and sleeping.

The left picture is therefore atypical for a koala, because he has his eyes open and is active.


The picture on the right, in which the koala is doing his favorite activity, fits better.

But resting too much is a biological necessity that I would like to explain to you in more detail.
So if the koala has to digest long and extensively, it is mainly due to the fact that eucalyptus leaves do not provide enough nutrients. That means he has to chew the leaves very well and digest them very well in his intestines so that he gets enough energy from the food and he doesn't starve.

For example, if cats were only given grass to eat, they would starve to death because they are not used to getting enough nutrients from the grass. Cows, on the other hand, are content with grass and do not need meat in their diet.

Koalas are, so to speak, frugal world champions. They eat leaves that no other such large animal eats and therefore always have enough to eat. (As long as people don't just cut the trees down for them).

The amount of nutrients in the leaves is just enough for you to eat and lounge around, but it's not enough for koala bears to frolic all day. Their way of life is therefore very much shaped by the choice of their food, as we biologists would say. And in this case that means moving as little as possible.

Well, it's not that extreme. Koalas can also be pretty quick. If they are in danger, they can climb a 30 m high tree in seconds.

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