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Australian

Animals

Introduction to Computing

Name: Monique Jeacocke


Class: 7ITB
Teacher: Mrs. Agnew
Due Date: 15/5/2015

Monique Jeacocke 7ITB

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Monique Jeacocke 7ITB

Table of 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
Status..........................................................................................................................6
Description.................................................................................................................6
Breeding.....................................................................................................................6
Diet.............................................................................................................................6
Habitat........................................................................................................................6
Platypus..........................................................................................................................7
Status..........................................................................................................................7
Description.................................................................................................................7
Breeding.....................................................................................................................7
Diet.............................................................................................................................7
Habitat........................................................................................................................7
Threats........................................................................................................................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 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 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.

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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.

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).

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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 behaviour.

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 2002, Save the Koala, viewed May 7 2015,
< http://www.savethekoala.com/>
Kangaroo 2002, Wires, viewed May 7, 2015,
< http://www.wires.au.com/animals/kangaroo.htm>
Platypus 2002, Wires, viewed May 7, 2015,
< http://www.wires.au.com/animals/platypus.htm>

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