General information and resources for students and adult learners.


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Information about Koalas

Koalas are furry animals that live only in Australia they live only in certain types of trees, called eucalyptus trees where they can eat the leaves.
Koalas are nocturnal, they spend at least 16-18 hours a day sleeping. The remaining six hours are spent eating eucalyptus leaves and grooming. A koala can walk and even run on the ground, but it only comes down when they move between trees to eat and then it is back to sleep again.
The koalas select which leaves to eat, they usually moves to the tree and sniffs the trunk, they have a highly sensitive nose and then decides whether the leaves are the right ones to eat. They climb the tree of their preferred leaves, koalas have two thumbs, three fingers and non -slip pads on its palms which makes the climb easier.
In Australia there are about 500 varieties of eucalyptus tree but there are only about 50 that the koalas eat, with only 10 -12 being preferred, that is why they sniff out the different trees to see if is the one that they liked.
An adult koala can eat 500 grams to one kilogram of leaves everyday but there is not much nutrition and energy in all those leaves. This low energy food is one reason why the koala spends most of its time asleep, to conserve energy they sleep.
Fussy Eaters
A single koala may eat just two types of eucalyptus all of its life. This is because it does not like to change.

Once a young koala starts to eat the leaves of trees in its home range, it tries to feed on the same kinds, year after year. It ignores unfamiliar types of eucalyptus, even though they may be perfectly good for eating.
Eucalyptus leaves are poisonous to most animals. The koala can only eat them because it has specially helpful microbes called bacteria, in its digestive system. These break down the poison into harmless substances.

Koalas are mostly referred to as Koala bear, but they are not bears. Koalas are members of the group of animals called Marsupials. This name comes from the Latin word "masupium", meaning pouch. Koalas have pouch and like all marsupials their babies are very underdeveloped at birth.
It is believed that the name koala came from an Aboriginal word meaning "no drink", almost right because koalas get most of their moisture they need from the leaves they eat. This is topped up by rain and dew on the leaves and branches. The koala is also efficient at saving body water. It avoids hot sunshine and does not sweat. This is why koalas very rarely need to drink.
In 1817, the scientist named this wonderful animal Phascolarctos cinereus, which means ash-coloured or grey.
Koalas are highly specialized to survive only in one type of habitat, a woodland with plenty of eucalyptus trees also known as gum trees. 
They provide the koala with food, water safety from the ground predators and all other needs. Koalas do not have dens, tree holes or nests. They sleep, eat and breed on the branches.
Koala is one of Australia's best known animals.
Life In The Trees 
Koalas are light grey or light brown, these colours give good camouflage and make the koala very difficult to see among leaves. The koala is a slow but strong climber and usually moves with its body upright, it goes down from a tree backwards by reversing down the trunk. 
Koalas have excellent balance and do not fall, even when asleep. They doze high on trees by day and become active at night.


Amazing Koala Facts

  • Koalas were once hunted for their fur. It wasn't until the late 1920s that the fur trade ceased and legislation was introduced to protect it because of the severe decline in koala populations.
  • Male koalas have scent gland on their chest which they rub on the trees to mark their territory.
  • Males bellow to warn off other males - a call that has been described as a cross between a donkey and a pig!
  • Female koalas have two nipples in their backward-opening pouch and occasionally twins are born.
  • Bush fires,droughts, domestic dogs, fast cars, disease and habitat destruction area all threats to the survival of this national treasure.
  • Baby Koala is called a joey.

Did you know? 

  • Chlamydia is a disease that impacts on some koala populations. It is sexually transmitted and can cause a koala to become sterile, blind or suffer other illnesses. It might be stress related, occurring when koalas are attacked or are overcrowded or lose their habitat.
  • A full-grown male koala weighs up to 12 kilograms and measures about 70 centimetres from nose to tail. An adult female weighs up to 8 kilograms and measures about 65 centimetres from nose to tail.


Bulldog Breed Information

In earlier times, they were bred for centuries to bail bulls for sport , they were fighting dogs that would take on opponents such as bull, bears, badgers or even other dogs in the ring.
When such blood sports became unpopular and was banned in Britain in 1835, bulldogs nearly became extinct. Breeders concentrated on developing the breed’s non-ferocious traits.

The coat comes in reds, fawn brindle or fallow or white pied with any of these colors. The muzzle is sometimes dark.
With its stocky legs set squarely at each corner of its compact, mascular body, bulldogs walk with short steps and a clumsy swaying motion.

Absolutely reliable and although its appearance can be somewhat intimidating, it is among the gentlest of dogs.
Bulldogs are affectionate, dignified and loyal. They are generally good-natured dogs that lack the capacity for vigorous exercise but they enjoy playing with children and are appealing companion dogs.

Exercise and feeding
Bulldogs would just as soon not take any exercise, but they will stay fitter if given some regular, not overly strenuous activity such as walking.

There are no special feeding requirements but be careful not to overfeed them as they easily become obese. They can also be somewhat possessive of their food.

The smooth, fine shorthaired coat is easy to groom.
Always comb and brush with a firm bristle brush and bathe only when necessary. Wipe the face with a damp cloth every day to clean inside the wrinkles.

Health problems
This breed is notorious for enduring difficult births and the large–headed pups are usually delivered by Cesarean section.

Bulldogs are prone to respiratory problems, especially breathing difficulties because of their short muzzles. Some have small windpipes as well.
They are also stressed by exertion especially during hot weather.

Pet Facts
  • Temperament: Reliable, gentle, kind
  • Grooming: Daily brushing
  • Exercise: Regular, moderate
  • Living Condition: Adapts well to urban living
  • Watchdog: Very good watchdog
  • Life expectancy – 7-9 years

Interesting Facts

Bullbaiting probably began in England in 1204 after Lord Stamford was entertained by the sight of a butcher’s dog tormenting a bull.

Stamford decided to provide a field for bullbaiting tournaments as long as the butcher pledged to provide one bull each year. This undeniably cruel sport was popular for more than 600 years, but bulldogs are now known for their gentleness.


Dalmatian Dogs: Breed Information

These dogs are appreciated all over the world as a family dog, preferably in sports minded family.

This breed is probably descended from dogs imported by merchants to Dalmatia (a region of Croatia) and ancient Greece from India.

Throughout the ages, Dalmatians have demonstrated their excellent working abilities; they were used as coach and carriage dogs in Britain. They were trained to run alongside beside horse-drawn carriages to protect the occupants against thieves and highway men. They were also equally popular as a kind of fashion accessory among the wealthy.
In the United States, Dalmatians are best known as firehouse dogs, as they were employed to control the horses that pulled fire wagons during the nineteenth century. It is still well-known fire house mascots.

Dalmatians are predominately white dogs with black or liver-colored spots, although they are born completely white.

They are robust build, with deep chests, well –sprung rib cages and reasonably long muscular limbs. They have long, elegantly arched neck, well defined heads and square muzzles. The nose matches the color of the dog’s spots.

The feet are round with well-arched toes and the nails are either white or the same color as the spots.

Newborn pups are spotless: markings develop during the first year.

Spirited and playful, these dogs adore children and can be trusted with them. Sensitive so training takes patience and gentle but firm handling. 

They like to spend time with their owners and they are capable of great stamina and speed. Gentle, sensitive and energetic 

  • Grooming: Minimal, but needs daily brushing
  • Exercise: regular and vigorous
  • Adapts well to urban living, but needs plenty of space.
  • A good watchdog.
  • Life expectancy: 12 years


Chinese 12 Zodiac Animals

The Chinese zodiac follows a 12 –year cycle. The legend tells us how each year is named after an animal.

A long, long time ago, the Jade emperor of the heavens held a great race to decide how the years should be named, The rule is simple, all the animals took part in the competition to see what names the years should have and in which order they should come.

The race was held across the river.  In the end it was the rat who won by tricking the ox into giving him a ride on his back. As the ox was about to jump ashore, the rat jumped off the ox's back and won the race.

The other animals arrived in the following order: The rat came first then followed by the  Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and lastly, the Pig.  The cat came in thirteenth place, which is why it has never been honored by having a year named after it.

These 12 animals represent the rotating 12-year cycle that is the basis of the Chinese Zodiac. 


Sulphur- crested Cockatoo

Sulphur- crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) is one of the best known parrots, it is a large parrot, measuring about 45cm (18 inches). It has a dark grey-black bill

Cockatoos have white feathered body and an impressive yellow crest. The most striking feature of this magnificent bird is its scratchy, squawky call. Its ear-piercing screech, often heard at sunrise or in the early evening announces the cockatoo's arrival or departure from its roosting tree.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos are common and familiar in Australia, you will find Sulphur-crested cockatoos in the timbered forests of northern and eastern Australia and into Tasmania as well as around Perth. They can be found in a variety of timbered environments building nests in tree hollows.

They are also common around in human settlements and they are also popular pets although it is sad that they are kept in cages. They can live for more than 65 years, so if you have a cockatoo you have a life-long pet. They are known to have mimicry abilities and can learn to speak.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos's diet consist of berries, seeds, nuts and roots. Sad to say that some people considered the cockatoos pest in some areas because it uses its powerful bill to destroy timber decking and panelling on houses.

These like to eat the pine cones, biting off the small branches and leaves
probably to keep their beaks in good shapes and help the trees flourish.


Amazing Cockatoo Facts

Informative article about sulphur-crested cockatoo, one of the most common bird in Australia.

Did you know
  • Cockatoos have zygodactyl feet - two toes forward and two toes pointing backward . These feet are perfectly adapted for climbing and holding and for gripping branches to eat seeds while hanging upside down in trees. Sometimes you will see cockatoos spinning around on branches simply to have fun, they are nature's acrobats.

  • When a flock of cockatoos are feeding on the ground, often they have one or two others on lookout in a tree surveying the area. This is a great warning system - the cockatoos screech loudly if there is an intruder and everyone disappeared.

Amazing Cockatoo Facts
  • The oldest authenticated Sulphur-crested Cockatoo died in London Zoo in 1982. It was over 80 years old.
  • Sulphur-crested cockatoos originally congregated west of the Great Dividing Range but have now moved eastwards where there is more water. And pet cockatoos that have been released or escaped are now resident in the cities.

  • Large old trees with hollowed trunks make perfect nests for some cockatoos. If those trees are removed, the birds are likely to disappear.
  • Sulphur-crested cockatoos lay up to three eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs for about 30 days before hatching.

  • Cockatoos are large parrots with crests. All species are found only in Australasia.
  • Each flock of cockatoos has its own roosting site. They fly long distances in search of food.


Guinea pigs as pets

Guinea pigs, also known as cavies are small furry animals which was said to be a native to South America. They make gentle and friendly pets as long as you give them lots of love and attention.
No one knows for sure how guinea pigs got their name. Some think that it is because they used to be sold one guinea , an old British coin.
They don't grow very big. An average adult guinea pig is around 25 cm or 10 inch long and weighs about 1.2 kg. or 2 ½ lb. They usually live for up to seven years.
Guinea pigs and aren't related to pigs at all- they belong to a family of animals called rodents, which has long teeth for gnawing. Mice and rats are rodents.

SEEING - Guinea pigs can't see details well, but they are good at spotting movements. Their eyes are high up on their heads so they see things above them best.
HEARING - A guinea pig's sensitive ears can hear many sounds that yours can't. Don't make sudden noises near your guinea pig, as they might cause it to panic.
SMELLING - A guinea pig's sense of smell is much better than a person. It helps it to identify friends and enemies or to tell if it's in an area that belongs to another animal.
What do they eat? 
Guinea pigs have healthy appetites. In the wild, they spend up to 20 hours every day munching grass. Your guinea pig will also spend a lot of time eating.
Wild guinea pigs are herbivores which means they eat plants but not meat. You must feed your pet vegetables, fruit and grass, along with dried food. Never give a guinea pig sweet things such as chocolate or it might become very sick.
Your guinea pig should eat fresh, green vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage every day. Avoid giving it lettuce or spinach, it can cause upset tummy. Make sure every kind of vegetables you offer is clean and not rotten.
Some guinea pigs are fussy eaters. When you give your guinea pig a type of food it hasn't tried before only offer a small amount. If it ignores the food or doesn't eat much it probably doesn't like it.
Guinea pigs are playful and curious animals with lots of energy so they need plenty of exercise and playtime. Pet stores sell toys for guinea pigs although household objects such as boxes with holes cut in them also can provide hours of fun.
Make sure that you clean out the guinea pigs cage or hutch two or times a week and keep its bedding fresh, a dirty and smelly environment can make the guinea pig sick.
Guinea pigs are naturally clean animals and groom themselves regularly. They lick their fur and run their teeth and claws through it like a comb. You can help keep your pet in tip-top condition by brushing and combing and washing it too.
As long as you take good care of your guinea pig and feed it with the right food it should stay healthy. But if it looks very poorly you should take your guinea pig to the veterinarian.
Guinea pigs are ideal house pets, they are practically odorless and very cheap to feed and maintain and easy to handle and rarely bite. It is always advisable for the parents to supervise young children when they handle a guinea pigs.
Did you know?
group of wild guinea pigs are called herds.
A male guinea pig is called boar.
Female guinea pigs are called sows.


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