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Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus).—Anthony MerciecaThe National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers
Tree-dwelling marsupial (Phascolarctos cinereus) of coastal eastern Australia. About 24–33 in. (61–85 cm) long and tailless, the koala has a stout, pale gray or yellowish body; broad face; big, round, leathery nose; small, yellow eyes; and fluffy ears. Its feet have strong claws and some opposable digits. The koala feeds only on eucalyptus leaves. The single offspring remains in the rearward-opening pouch for up to seven months. Koala populations have dwindled seriously, formerly because they were killed for their fur and now because of loss of habitat and the spread of disease.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on koala, visit Britannica.com.