Australian Animals

Computer Applications

Name: Georgia Warren
Class: 7CAS
Teacher: Mrs. Agnew
Due Date: 24/09/2014

Georgia Warren 7CAS

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Contents
Koala................................................................................................................................................4
What is a koala?...........................................................................................................................4
Habitat..........................................................................................................................................4
Diet..............................................................................................................................................4
Breeding.......................................................................................................................................4
Threats.........................................................................................................................................5
Land Clearing..........................................................................................................................5
Bushfires..................................................................................................................................5
Dieback....................................................................................................................................5
Red Kangaroo..................................................................................................................................6
Breeding.......................................................................................................................................6
Diet..............................................................................................................................................6
Habitat..........................................................................................................................................6
Platypus............................................................................................................................................7
Description...................................................................................................................................7
Breeding.......................................................................................................................................7
Diet..............................................................................................................................................7
Habitat..........................................................................................................................................7
Threats.........................................................................................................................................7
References........................................................................................................................................8

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Koala
What is a koala?
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.

Habitat
'Habitat' refers to the types of bush land that koalas like to live in. They are found in
a range of habitats, from coastal islands and tall eucalypt forests to low woodlands
inland.
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.

Diet
Koala's are very fussy eaters and have strong preferences for different types of gum
leaves, then the most important factor which make habitats suitable are the
presence of tree species preferred by koalas (usually eucalypts, but also some noneucalypts) growing in particular associations on suitable soils with adequate rainfall.
In Australia there are over 600 types of eucalypts, but koalas will not eat a large
proportion of these. 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.
Different species of eucalypts grow in different parts of Australia, so a koala in
Victoria would have a very different diet from one in Queensland. Koalas like a
change, too, and sometimes they will eat from other trees such as wattle or tea
tree.
Physiology
The Koala is well suited to life in the trees. The koala has an excellent sense of
balance and its body is lean and muscular and its quite long, strong limbs support
its weight when climbing. The arms and legs are nearly equal in length and the
koala's climbing strength comes from the thigh muscle joining the shin much lower
than in other animals. Its paws are especially adapted for gripping and climbing with
rough pads on the palms and soles helping it to grip tree trunks and branches.
Koalas have a thick woolly fur which protects them from both high and low
temperatures. It also acts like a 'raincoat' to repel moisture when it rains. Koalas are
mostly nocturnal animals and they are most active during the night and at dawn
and dusk.

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Breeding
The main characteristics of marsupials which differentiate them from other
mammals is that they give birth to immature young which then develop further in a
pouch. The word 'marsupial' comes from the Latin word marsupium, meaning
'pouch.' Most, but not all marsupials have a pouch in which to raise their young. The
breeding season for koalas runs roughly from September to March. This is a time of
increased activity, and sound levels increase as males bellow more frequently. This
is also when the young from the previous year are weaning from their mothers.

Threats
Since European settlement, approximately 80% of Australia's eucalypt forests have
been decimated. Of the remaining 20% almost none is protected and most occurs
on privately-owned land.
The main causes of loss of habitat include:

Land Clearing
Clearing of the land for expansion of human settlement for
 agriculture
 housing
 mining
 forestry
 factories
 roads
The results of this would include:
 loss of habitat
 increased disturbance by humans
 injury or death from traffic
 injury or death from dogs and cats
 effects of garden pesticides getting into waterways
 increased competition for food and territory because of overcrowding
 increased stress on animals, making them more susceptible to disease
It has also been documented that over 4000 koalas are killed each year by dogs and
cars. It easy to see that the biggest threat to the Koala population is the human.

Bushfires
Koala populations in fragmented areas of bush land are at great risk of localized
extinction from a single fire which may wipe out an entire habitat. Bushfires are
extremely common in the summer months.

Dieback
Changes in the balance of the ecosystem can lead to dieback of trees. The cutting
back of the original vast forests has created patches of forest separated from each

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other by treeless land. Small, isolated patches of forest are prone to dieback.
Dieback is a general term for the gradual dying of trees due to factors such as land
degradation, leaching of soil nutrients, changes in the composition of vegetation
communities, rising water levels underground, salination of the soil, erosion caused
by wind and water, exposure to weather and excessive defoliation (or loss of
leaves).
The underlying cause of all these factors appears to be the clearing and disturbance
of forests. Seventy five percent of the main koala food tree species are declining in
numbers as a result of this.

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Red Kangaroo
Macropus rufus
Status: Common
The red kangaroo is the largest of all the marsupials and live in
family groups on the plains and deserts of Central Australia.
Description Male red kangaroos have short dense woolly fur
and are pale to brick red in color, while the females are bluegrey, though in some areas both sexes are red. Both have
distinctive white below. The muzzle is dusky, naked and sharply
defined with a distinctive black and white patch on each side.
Red kangaroos travel with head down. Males weigh up to 90kg,
the females are smaller at 35kg (also known as the "Bluefliers"). Males can stand over 1.8m tall.
Figure 1: Red Kangaroo

Breeding
Kangaroos breed throughout the year. Newly born young, known as joeys, weigh
less than 1 gram and make their way into the pouch unassisted by their mother.

Diet
Green herbage, including grasses and herbivorous plants.

Habitat
Red kangaroos are found in central Australia and prefer open plains with scattered
shade trees under which they rest during the day. They are semi-nomadic preferring
to graze mostly at night but can extend to late evening and early morning

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Platypus
Ornithorhyncus anatinus
Status: Platypus are common but vulnerable.
The platypus is a monotreme, like the echidna but are
extremely specialized for an aquatic lifestyle in fresh water.
For many years, platypus were hunted for their thick fur.
Platypus are mostly nocturnal and solitary animals.
Figure 2: Platypus

Description
Platypus have a broad soft leathery bill, dense water-repellent brown fur, webbed
feet and clawed toes. It uses its webbed front feet for swimming, folding the web
under its paw to walk. The Platypus spends much of its time in the water so its eyes
are on the top of its head and the nostrils open on top of its bill. When submerged,
the platypus closes its eyes, nostrils and ear holes relying on the touch receptors on
the skin of the bill for its information.
The platypus's tail is broad and flat, its hind feet are used to help steer and brake
while swimming. The hind ankles of the male have a venomous spur.

Breeding
Mating starts on August in the warmer areas and as late as October in Tasmania.
Females lay two eggs and incubate the eggs by curling her body around them as
she lies on a nest of grasses at the end of the burrow. Eggs hatch in about 2 weeks
and young are fed for four to five months on milk that secretes from pore ducts of
the mammary glands on the mothers abdomen.

Diet
Platypus eat a variety of invertebrates such as crustaceans and mollusks. They
collect food from the river bottom and store it in cheek pouches until the reaching
the surface. The platypus then floats on its back chewing the food between horny
grinding plates in its mouth.

Habitat
The platypus lives in burrows on the banks of fresh water streams and lakes of
Eastern Australia including Tasmania. It sleeps most of the day in its burrow feeding
mainly around dawn and dusk. Local climate may change this behavior.

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Threats
WIRES looks after platypus which are sick, orphaned or injured due to lacerations
from outboard motors, poisoning from pollution, entanglement from netting and
habitat loss.

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References
The Koala Foundation, viewed 19 February 2002, http://www.savethekoala.com/
‘Kangaroo’, Wires, viewed 21 February 2002,
http://www.wires.au.com/animals/kangaroo.htm
‘Emu’, Wires, viewed 21 February 2002, http://www.wires.au.com/animals/emu.htm

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