How can koalas feed on eucalyptus, a poisonous plant?

Known to feed exclusively on eucalyptus leaves, the koala has a particularity compared to other animals because this plant is toxic.

Nature is so made. Even if containing a number of ways to feed, it only has to serve eucalyptus leaves to koalas for them to find their happiness. They are not the only mammals that can limit themselves to this diet, as as Discover Wildlife indicates, the greater glider and the ring-tailed opossum also and exclusively eat eucalyptus.

Eucalyptus: for most animals, a very poisonous plant

The question of eucalyptus leaves included in a meal can be a concern, because for most animals, this plant is particularly toxic. If koalas can live on it without danger of death, it is because they have an adapted digestive system. It thus attacks the chemical substances contained in the leaves.

The need also for the cecum, present in human beings

Within this digestive system is an organ called the cecum. Also present in other animals including humans, it is distinguished in koalas by a certain length. It can thus reach 200 centimeters. It is through it, and the millions of bacteria held inside, that eucalyptus leaves are broken down and rendered harmless.

Up to 500 grams absorbed per day

For accuracy, eucalyptus leaves are low in nutrients. In addition, while they are, conversely, to house many fibers, only 25% are known by the koala. The water from these leaves being also ingested, the need to find other sources to drink is rare. It is estimated that between 200 and 500 grams are consumed daily by each koala.

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