Australian Animals

Computer Applications



Name: Lucy Burgess
Class: 7CAS
Teacher: Mrs Agnew
Due Date: 18 September 2014

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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
Description .......................................................................................................................................... 6
Breeding .............................................................................................................................................. 6
Diet ...................................................................................................................................................... 6
Habitat ................................................................................................................................................. 6
Platypus ................................................................................................................................................... 7
Description .......................................................................................................................................... 7
Breeding .............................................................................................................................................. 7
Diet ...................................................................................................................................................... 7
Habitat ................................................................................................................................................. 7
Threats ................................................................................................................................................ 7
WIRES .............................................................................................................................................. 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. It's
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 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 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
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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
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, 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
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.


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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.

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
behavior.

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’, 24 September 2014, www.savethekoala.com

‘Kangaroo’, Wires, 24 September 2014, www.wires.au.com/animals/kangaroo.htm

‘Emu’, Wires, 21 September 2014 www.wires.au.com/animals/emu.htm


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