The koala is perhaps the best-loved of all Australia's marsupial, or pouched, mammals. Although it is rather bear-like in appearance, its nearest relatives are the opossums. 

Breeding

During the summer, a male koala collects a small harem of females and guards them closely from rivals. After a gestation period of 34-36 days, there is normally only one baby born. It measures only 2cm in length and weighs a mere 0.5g. The tiny creature climbs into its mother's backward opening pouch (other way round to a kangaroo's pouch) and stays there for 5 or 6 months, feeding on milk. After it leaves the pouch, it rides 'piggy-back' on its mother for another 6 months, and to begin with, she feeds it on partially digested food that has passed through her digestion system. The young one is independent by 11 months of age and it may live close to the mother for a few more months.

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