Koalas are marsupials, which are animals that carry their young in a pouch. They are found in Australia. Koalas feed exclusively on the leaves of eucalyptus trees and become so saturated with the essential oils of this plant that they smell just like cough drops. Eucalyptus leaves are very low in nutrients and protein and are very slow to digest, so koalas rest for about 20 hours of the day to conserve energy.
On average, a male koala weighs about 10.5 kg (23 lb.) and a female weighs about 8 kg (18 lb.). A mature male koala usually has a small harem of females, which he guards jealously. Female koalas give birth to a single offspring every two years.
In the early part of the 20th century, it was a popular sport to shoot koalas out of the trees. Undisturbed by the presence of humans, placid and friendly even, koalas are easy targets. Millions were slaughtered for their soft, durable, silver-grey fur. The koala was approaching extinction when the Australian government passed protective legislation to enable this species to make a comeback.