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Adopt a Koala

Koalas are not bears. They are members of a group of pouched animals known as marsupials. Koalas are native to Australia and live in forests of eucalyptus trees. Their hands and feet are designed to curl and hang onto tree branches. Koala's hands have two opposing thumbs which help increase their grip and sharp claws to dig into the tree bark. The feet have a toe that is really two toes fused together, which they use to groom themselves, and a toe that doesn't have a claw that acts like a thumb for gripping. They are active mostly at night and spend most of their day napping in the forks or nooks of trees. Koalas only eat eucalyptus leaves which are poisonous to most animals, but koalas have special bacteria in their digestive tract that break down the toxic compounds. There are more than 600 different kinds of eucalyptus trees. Koalas can tell which eucalyptus species are more toxic than others and only eat the less-toxic leaves. Koalas were widely hunted during the 1920's and 1930's, and their populations decreased. Helped by reintroduction, koalas have reappeared over much of their former range, but their populations are smaller. The biggest threat to koalas is habitat loss as Australia's woodlands continue to shrink. Adopt a koala today!

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