The Koala is a small, roundish animal that weighs about 30 pounds and can grow to be 3 feet long. It has soft fur that is white on the belly and below the neck but light gray on its back. The ears of a koala have long white hairs on the tips. The eyes are small compared to the large nose and head. A koala has 5 fingers on its front paws, 2 of which are opposable (like the thumb of a human). Its rear feet also have 5 'toes', but only a single opposable thumb. The koala is not a bear; it is a special type of mammal called a marsupial. Marsupials carry their young in pouches on their bodies. Many koalas can live up to 17 years, but they are often in danger from preditors or human activity and die earlier than that.
Koalas are native to Australia. They have been seen throughout the continent but are now less common due to loss of habitat. The koala lives in eucalyptus forests, coastal islands, and low woodlands. It is active at night, sleeping up to 16 hours a day. The koala eats mainly eucalyptus leaves and bark, but will also eat other plants such as box leaves and mistletoe. It is a quiet animal, prefering to spend time alone instead of in larger groups.
Koalas mate once a year. The female carries the young for 35 days and then gives birth to a single pup. This young is helpless at birth. It lives in the mother's pouch for 7 months and feeds off the mother's milk. After this time, it slowly starts to spend time in trees until it becomes independent.