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Dr. Christopher S. Baird

Do koalas eat honey like other bears?

Category: Biology      Published: April 5, 2013

Koalas are marsupials and not bears. Public Domain Image, source: U.S. Navy.

Despite the fact that the name "koala bear" is used in the popular culture of some countries, koalas are actually not bears. The more accurate name of "koala" is used in this animal's native land of Australia. Koalas are marsupials, just like kangaroos and possums. Like most other marsupials, koalas give birth to babies that are not fully developed and carry their young around for the first few months in a pouch. Koalas are known for being picky eaters and having a diet that consists almost entirely of Eucalyptus leaves. Unfortunately, Eucalyptus leaves do not provide much energy, so koalas typically sleep for 20 hours a day and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Because koalas are not bears, they do not share the opportunistic omnivorous habits of bears. They do not eat honey, ants, nuts, or fish like bears do. Koalas are only found in Eastern and Southern Australia. The work titled The Koala Book by Ann Sharp states, "Its established scientific name is Phascolarctos cinereus, which literally means 'ash-grey pouched bear' and until quite recently koalas were commonly referred to as 'koala bears'. Koalas may resemble teddy bears but the comparison ends there. Koalas are not bears, they are marsupials, although their scientific name will continue to confuse as it is almost impossible to change."

Topics: bear, honey, koala bear, koalas, marsupial