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Australian Animals

Computer Applications

Name: Monique Dunphy


Class: 7ITS
Teacher: Mrs Agnew
Due Date: 17/10/2008

Monique Dunphy 7ITS

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Monique Dunphy 7ITS

Contents
Koala...................................................................................................................... 4
What is a koala?................................................................................................. 4
Habitat................................................................................................................ 4
Diet..................................................................................................................... 4
Physiology.......................................................................................................... 4
Breeding............................................................................................................. 4
Threats............................................................................................................... 5
Bushfires............................................................................................................. 5
Dieback.............................................................................................................. 5
Red Kangaroo........................................................................................................ 7
Description......................................................................................................... 7
Breeding............................................................................................................. 7
Diet..................................................................................................................... 7
Habitat................................................................................................................ 7
Platypus................................................................................................................. 8
Description......................................................................................................... 8
Breeding............................................................................................................. 8
Diet..................................................................................................................... 8
Habitat................................................................................................................ 8
Threats............................................................................................................... 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. 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

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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 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.

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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, 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 seminomadic 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 behaviour.

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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, 2005, viewed 19/02/02,
http://www.savethekoala.com/

Kangaroo, 2005, Wires, viewed 21/02/02


http://www.wires.au.com/animals/kangaroo.htm

Emu, 2005, Wires, viewed 21/02/02


http://www.wires.au.com/animals/emu.htm

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