Australian Animals

Computer Applications







Student: Sophie McGlade
Class: 7CAS
Teacher: Mrs Agnew
Due Date: 23/9/14
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Contents
Koala........................................................................................................................................................ 4
Habitat ................................................................................................................................................ 4
Diet ...................................................................................................................................................... 4
Breeding .............................................................................................................................................. 4
Threats ................................................................................................................................................ 5
Land Clearings ................................................................................................................................. 5
Bushfires.......................................................................................................................................... 5
Dieback ............................................................................................................................................ 5
Red Kangaroo .......................................................................................................................................... 6
Description .......................................................................................................................................... 6
Breeding .............................................................................................................................................. 6
Diet ...................................................................................................................................................... 6
Habitat ................................................................................................................................................ 6
Platypus ................................................................................................................................................... 6
Description .......................................................................................................................................... 7
Breeding .............................................................................................................................................. 7
Diet ...................................................................................................................................................... 7
Habitat ................................................................................................................................................ 7
Threats ................................................................................................................................................ 7
References .......................................................................................................................................... 7


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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 bushland 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 non-eucalypts) 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.
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
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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 bushland are at great risk of localised 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 other by treeless land. Small,
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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.

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 colour, while the females are blue-grey, 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 "Blue-fliers"). Males can stand over
1.8m tall.
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

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
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fresh water. For many years, platypus were hunted for their thick fur. Platypus are mostly nocturnal
and solitary animals.
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 molluscs. 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 behaviour.
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.



References

The Koala Foundation, Koala, Viewed 19 September 2014
http://www.savethekoala.com/

Wires, Kangaroo, 20 September 2014
http://www.wires.au.com/animals/kangaroo.htm

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Wires, Emu, 21 September 2014
http://www.wires.au.com/animals/emu.htm

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