Koala – made from 925 Sterling silver this icon of Australia is set on a handmade black porcelain disc. It is a beautiful memento of Australia and will make a lovely gift.
Did you know that the koala has two thumbs on its fore paws?
A great website for information about Koala’s is http://www.thekoala.com/koala/ From their website:
The koala is a small bear-like, tree-dwelling, herbivorous marsupial which averages about 9kg (20lb) in weight. Its fur is thick and usually ash grey with a tinge of brown in places.
It gets its name from an ancient Aboriginal word meaning “no drink” because it receives over 90% of its hydration from the Eucalyptus leaves (also known as gum leaves) it eats, and only drinks when ill or times when there is not enough moisture in the leaves. ie during droughts etc.
It is the only mammal, other than the Greater Glider and Ringtail Possum, which can survive on a diet of eucalyptus leaves.
Koalas today are found in Queensland , New South Wales , Victoria and South Australia . Their range extends from the Atherton Tableland west of Cairns in Qld to islands off the coast of Victoria and South Australia in the south, and west to central and western Qld, NSW and Victoria.
Koalas live in societies, just like humans, so they need to be able to come into contact with other koalas. It is because of this they need to have areas of suitable eucalypt forest which are large enough to support a healthy koala population and to allow for expansion by maturing young koalas. Koalas are highly territorial and in stable breeding groups, individual members of koala society maintain their own “home range” areas.
A ‘home range’ consists of a number of ‘home range trees’ and ‘food trees’ which comprise the long-term territory of the individual koala. These trees provide the koala with food, shelter and places for social contact which will support it for the term of its natural life (assuming there is no habitat clearing).
A home range varies in size depending on the habitat quality of bushland. Habitat quality can be measured in terms of the density of key food trees. “Home range trees” define the boundaries of the individual koala’s home range and can be likened to surveyors pegs marking the extent of a property. They are not always apparent to the human eye, but koalas can tell whether a tree ‘belongs’ to another koala or not. Within a socially stable group, the home ranges of individual koalas overlap with those of their neighbours. It is in the shared, overlapping trees that the majority of social interaction takes place. These are very important trees.
Koala populations only occur if suitable habitat is available and because Koala’s are very fussy eaters and have strong preferences for different types of gumleaves, then the most important factor which make habitats suitable are the presence of tree species preferred by koalas (usually eucalypts, but also some non-eucalypts) growing in particular associations on suitable soils with adequate rainfall.
Research has shown that socially stable koala populations occur only when there are favourite tree species present. Even if a selection of tree species known to be used by koalas occurs within an area, the koala population will not use it unless one or two favourite species are available.
In Australia there are over 600 types of eucalypts, but koalas will only eat 40-50 varieties with only about 10 being preferred. Within a particular area, as few as one, and generally no more than two or three species of eucalypt will be regularly browsed while a variety of other species, including some non-eucalypts, appear to be browsed occasionally or used for just sitting or sleeping in.