1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Koala
|←Knutsford||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 15
|See also Koala on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
KOALA (Phascolarctus cinereus), a stoutly built marsupial, of the family Phascolmyidae, which also contains the wombats. This animal, which inhabits the south-eastern parts of the Australian continent, is about 2 ft. in length, and of an ash-grey colour, an excellent climber, residing generally in lofty eucalyptus trees, the buds and tender shoots of which form its principal food, although occasionally it descends to the ground in the night in search of roots. From its shape the koala is called by the colonists the "native bear"; the term "native sloth" being also applied to it, from its arboreal habits and slow deliberate movements. The flesh is highly prized by the natives, and is palatable to Europeans. The skins are largely imported into England, for the manufacture of articles in which a cheap and durable fur is required.