The Koala is a herbivore and feeds primarily on the eucalyptus leaves. They can spend up to 5 hours a day eating. While they can eat at any time of the day, they tend to do most of it at night. They take their time chewing the leaves from the eucalyptus trees. They don’t have much competition for the food source. In fact, too much of this type of food for most animals would be toxic and kill them.
The reason it takes them so long to chew is because they need to turn that food into a pasty substance. This allows the food to be processed in the body without the toxins being triggered. They pass through the liver without affecting the body adversely. Adult Koalas consume about 1 ½ pounds of food every day.
When the eucalyptus leaves are hard to find, the Koalas will forage for other types of leaves. They tend to become highly aggressive though when their normal food sources aren’t offered and available. They can become stressed out too due to the fact that they don’t seem to have what they want to eat.
They lack much energy and experts believe this is due to the fact that the eucalyptus leaves have very little nutritional value in them. When food is very scarce for them they will come out of the trees. They will be searching for food on land which does make them more vulnerable to predators. They can even been seen licking the soil as a way to aid digestion.
Their usual diet is very high in fiber but it is also very low in protein. Most experts are amazed that this animal is able to live successfully with such a diet. That would result in death for most other animals out there. This is a complex area of the Koala that many would love to find out more about.
Mistletoe and box leaves are also part of the diet. Many people don’t realize that the Koala can find various types of eucalyptus leaves to consume. Their bodies are designed to handle lots of vegetation but they are very particular about what they eat.
Others though will consume what they have to in order to survive. What triggers that difference from one Koala to the next though remains a mystery. It is an area of study that many find very interested and that they would love to explore more.
Some believe that the Koala doesn’t drink water but that isn’t true. They do get large amounts of it from the eucalyptus leaves they consume. When they aren’t getting enough of it though they may go in search of water. This can be risky due to predators and the amount of energy it will take for them to accomplish such a task.
You will notice that the Koala has a very large size of nose. This helps them to be able to smell different things very well. They can find more than 700 types of eucalyptus trees in Australia. However, they will eat some of them. This keen sense of smell helps them to easily determine what they will eat and what they will pass over.
It remains a mystery how this animal is able to live on a food source that others simply can’t. It is speculated that this was part of the evolution process that has kept them alive for many years. Sadly, it may be the destruction of this prime food source though that puts them into extinction if positive changes aren’t made.