Koala (marsupial)

   The koala bear is not really a bear, though its little fat body looks like one. It belongs with the other pouched animals (marsupials) of Australia.
   The koala is about two feet long with thick, gray fur. It has a heavy body, no tail, large ears, a short snout, and cheek pouches for storing food. Its hands are split between the middle and index fingers, letting them grasp objects with a firm grip. They can climb trees and even swing between branches using their long, sharp claws.
   The koala mother has one baby at a time. The early part of the offspring's life is spent in the pocket or pouch of its mother, where it nurses and hides. When the cub is older, it rides on the mother's back.
   Koalas spend most of their lives in eucalyptus (blue gum) trees. They sleep during the day and eat only eucalyptus leaves and tender shoots at night. Koalas get water from the leaves they consume.