What is your favourite animal and what is it about them that you think makes them so incredible?
Land animal - koalas
Aside from the adorable factor, and I mean…come on
Their evolution is amazing. It’s one of those species that truly filled a niche that nothing else occupied (eucalyptus eater). Also, fun fact, they have two, fully functional versions of their respective reproductive organs. No one knows why, but it’s still really cool (they aren’t the only animals with this, I believe it’s not an entirely uncommon thing in marsupials). Their vocalizations sound like you’ve just summoned something from hell and it was extremely displeased with the transfer.
And they have their own urban legend, drop bears. Really, there isn’t anything to dislike about them.
This post from iloveeucalyptus is great. The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is named after an Aboriginal word meaning “no drink”, as they gain all of their water needs from their diet - leaving their home in the trees to reach terrestrial water sources would be too dangerous being such a slow and defenceless target. They are not actually bears, but marsupials, born very immature and spending around 6 months developing in their mother’s pouch. As mentioned above, koalas have a specialised niche living on a diet of toxic, very fibrous and low nutrient eucalyptus leaves that they have to spend most of the time sleeping - up to 18 hours a day - in order to digest. The ability to resist the toxic nature of eucalyptus is passed on through a substance called ‘pap’ that the joeys consume while in their mother’s pouch, which is a specialised form of the mother’s waste that passes on essential microorganisms from their digestive system to the young. They also have an exceptionally long caecum (digestive organ that breaks down plant materials) at around 2m in length! The “drop bear” urban legend that was mentioned is a fictitious form of koala that is much larger, more vicious, and is carnivorous, attacking its victims by dropping onto their heads from above. I don’t know about you but any koala of the real kind is welcome to drop from above and come along for the ride if it’s anything like the cute little guy in the animation posted here!
Ref: Australian Koala Foundation. About Koalas: Interesting facts. [link]
National Geographic. Koala. [link]