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Australian Animals

Introduction to computing

Niamh Kilgariff 7ITB

Contents
Koala................................................................................................................ 4

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What is a koala?............................................................................................ 4
Habitat.......................................................................................................... 4
Diet............................................................................................................... 4
Breeding........................................................................................................ 5
Threats.......................................................................................................... 5
BUSHFIRES.................................................................................................... 6
DIEBACK........................................................................................................ 6
Red Kangaroo................................................................................................... 6
Breeding........................................................................................................ 7
Diet............................................................................................................... 7
Platypus........................................................................................................... 8
Description.................................................................................................... 8
Breeding........................................................................................................ 8
Diet............................................................................................................... 8
Habitat.......................................................................................................... 9
Threats.......................................................................................................... 9
References..................................................................................................... 10

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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 bush land 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
Old to islands off the coast of Victoria and South Australia in the south, and
west to central and western Old, NSW and Victoria.

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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.
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

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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 bush land are at great risk of
localized 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,
salivation 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.

Red Kangaroo
Microbus 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 color, while the females are blue-grey, though in some areas both
sexes are red. Both have distinctive white below. The muzzle is dusky, naked

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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

Platypus

Ornithorhyncus anatine

Status: Platypus are common but vulnerable.


The platypus is a monochrome, 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.

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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 mollusks.
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
behavior.

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, viewed, 7/05/2015,
://www.savethekoala.com/
Kangaroo, 2002, wires, viewed, 07/05/2015
http://www.wires.au.com/animals/kangaroo.
Emu, 2002, viewed, 7/05/2015
http://www.wires.au.com/animals/emu.

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