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Gaining The Right Koala-Fications In Order To Eat Eucalyptus

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It’s hard to believe that Koala’s aren’t born to stomach their main food source...

The koala gets its name from the aboriginal word meaning ‘no drink’. This is because the koala gets 90% of its hydration by digesting Eucalyptus leaves (Gum leaves), only really drinking when there isn’t enough moisture in the leaves.

Believe it or not though, the renowned delicacy of the Koala takes a bit of work getting use to.

That right, koalas aren’t born with the ability to stomach Eucalyptus leaves, lacking the enzymes in their stomach necessary, actually being quite toxic and deadly.

From birth, the young koala begins drinking its mother’s milk for the first six to seven months. It is at this stage in a koala’s development that it begins to feed upon ‘pap’. Pap is a specialized form of droppings that forms a crucial role in the young koalas diet, preparing the digestive system to tolerate Eucalyptus.

Pap allows the koala to make a transition from the milk to leaves, providing microorganisms of the mother’s digestive system. This is essential to the digestion of eucalyptus leaves, also providing a rich source of protein. The baby koala feeds regularly on the pap, until it eventually begins to transition to fresh leaves as it rides on there mothers back.