The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Koala

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KOALA, a remarkable marsupial (Phascolarctos cinereus) of the family Phalangeridæ, found chiefly in the interior of New South Wales, and known to the colonists as “native bear.” It is about two feet long, and has a heavy, depressed, somewhat bear-like form, no tail, strong limbs with five digits armed with long claws on each, the inner digit on the hind feet and two inner on the fore feet opposable to the others, the ears large and like the rest of the body covered with a dense gray woolly fur. These characteristics fit it for an arboreal existence, and it lives altogether in trees, descending only occasionally to dig for roots. It is especially active at night and feeds on leaves and buds of eucalyptus trees. It is timid and defenseless, and is killed with clubs by the Australian blackfellows, who eat its flesh. (See Wombat). Consult authorities cited under Marsupialia.