The oil found in eucalyptus leaves is poisonous to many mammals. This poison is a chemical defence mechanism used by eucalyptus trees against their enemies. Yet there is a very special living being that gets the better of this mechanism and feeds on poisonous eucalyptus leaves: a marsupial called the koala. Koalas make their homes in eucalyptus trees while they also feed on them and obtain their water from them.

Like other mammals, koalas also cannot digest the cellulose present in the trees. For this, it is dependent on cellulose-digesting micro-organisms. These micro-organisms are heavily populated in the convergence point of small and large intestines, the caecum which is the rear extension of the intestinal system. The caecum is the most interesting part of the digestion system of the koala. This segment functions as a fermentation chamber where microbes are made to digest cellulose while the passage of the leaves is delayed. Thus, the koala can neutralise the poisonous effect of the oils in the eucalyptus leaves.

Next : Hunting Ability in Constant Position      


Send Comments and Suggestions to mkaramete@usa.net


•  Honey Bees and the Architectural Wonders of Honeycombs
•  Amazing Architects: Termites
•  The Woodpecker
•  The Sonar System of Bats
•  Whales
•  The Design in The Gnat
•  Hunting Birds with Keen Eyesight
•  The Thread of the Spider
•  An Intelligent Plan by Animals: Camouflage
•  Hibernating Animals
•  Electrical Fish
•  Special Freezing System
•  An Interesting Camouflage Technique: Parrot Fish
•  Cuttlefish
•  Different Seeing Systems
•  Albatrosses
•  An Arduous Migration
•  Koalas
•  Hunting Ability in Constant Position
•  The Design In Bird Feathers
•  A Living Being Able to Walk On Water: Basilisk
•  Photosynthesis