image credit david iliff via wikipedia
Awww... Aren’t they just so adorable! Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are herbivore marsupials that live nearly all their lives in eucalyptus trees. They feed for about 3 to 4 hours - usually at night - eating an average of 500g of eucalyptus leaves each day, and doze for the remaining time, wedged securely on a branch fork. From time to time they descend to change trees or promote digestion by eating soil, gravel and bark.
Mating normally occurs between December and March. After a gestation period of 35 days, the single offspring (twins are very rare) crawls into the downward-facing pouch on the mother’s belly, where it is suckled for 6 months. The baby Koala will remain with its mother for another six months or so, clinging to her back, and feeding on both milk and eucalypt leaves until weaning is complete at around 12 months of age. Young females scatter to nearby areas at that time, while young males usually stay in the mother's home range until they are about two or three years old. Despite a docile appearance, the koalas readily bite and scratch.
As with most native Australian animals, the koala cannot legally be kept as a pet in Australia or anyplace else. The only people who have permission to keep koalas are wildlife careers and, once in a while, research scientists. These individuals are issued with special permits to care for koalas, however they have to return the Koalas to the wild when they are either healthy enough or, in the case of baby Koalas (referred to as joeys), old enough.