by Evan Guest
Welcome to Animal Review, where we take an in-depth look at some of the Earth’s animal species and give them ratings based on how good of an idea they are. One example of what was not a good evolutionary idea is our first contestant, the koala.
Yes, those cute grey “bears” you haven’t thought about since you were a child are actually one of the most pointless animals on Earth. Koalas made every bad decision on their way to becoming what they are now. One highlight of them not really thinking things through is the plant that everyone knows of because of them, eucalyptus. Now, if you’re like me, and wondered why koalas are known for eating eucalyptus, it’s because they’re some of the only animals who eat it. Why? Because it’s incredibly poisonous to most animals… Including koalas (Koala Icon). So poisonous, in fact, that their young can’t eat it directly. This means they just get a much less potent dose of eucalyptus, after their mother has already eaten and digested it. And no, koalas don’t get the bird treatment; they eat their mothers’ feces instead (PBS). Additionally, the fact that eucalyptus is poisonous isn’t even the worst part about it. Eucalyptus has almost no nutritional value to koalas, and it’s pretty much all they eat. Which means a single koala needs to eat 200 to 500 grams of eucalyptus a day (Koala Foundation). Not to mention, koalas (like myself) sleep around 20 hours a day on average. This means in the 4 hours they aren’t passed out in trees, they’re binging on leaves containing cyanide compounds. This isn’t just a small trace amount, mind you. If you extracted the cyanide, you would have enough to kill a full grown human (Koala Icon). But since every other herbivore in Australia would die if they even thought about eating them, koalas have eucalyptus leaves all to themselves, so that’s a plus, I guess.
My last point as to why koalas are the biggest degenerates of the animal kingdom is a pretty well known one, but it really should be mentioned. If you didn’t know, a huge amount of koalas have Chlamydia. While no one can confirm most koalas have it, I did find an article mentioning a group of 170 koalas which are the only group of koalas all testing negative for Chlamydia. This is because they were land locked on Kangaroo Island (I’m serious, it’s a real island). However, this is the only large population managing to avoid it (Vice/White). No one knows exactly why koalas are so susceptible to the clap; however, it seems to be a unanimous threat to the species.
Koalas have earned the final rating of one eucalyptus leaf out of ten. They don’t really provide much, but they manage to keep to themselves when they can, even if they have some serious health threats associated with them.
Well, that’s it for animal review. Please join us next time when we take a look at the only other animal with the right to bear arms, the pistol shrimp.
DISCLAIMER: I’m just a business student who likes to read about animals sometimes. I took one biology class in college, which had almost nothing to do with animals. This is all just for fun to have a laugh at some fun facts about animals, while also trying to pass those facts along in the process. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love animals, but to love something you should laugh at it when you can.
Gregory, Madeleine. “These Are The Last Koalas Without Chlamydia.” Vice, 2 July 2019,
White, Na, and P Timms. “Chlamydia Psittaci in a Koala (Phascolarctos Cinereus) Population in
South-East Queensland.” Wildlife Research, vol. 21, no. 1, 1994, p. 41., doi:10.1071/wr9940041
Stowe, Rennett, et al. “Koalainfo.com.” Koala Icon.
“Australian Koala Foundation.” Diet & Habitat | Australian Koala Foundation,
“Five Gross Facts About Koalas.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 26 Nov. 2015,