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Koalas Are Dumb Jerks: An Exploration

By Tori Preston | Miscellaneous | August 3, 2017 |

By Tori Preston | Miscellaneous | August 3, 2017 |

Mother Nature is just full of surprises. Graceful creatures, clever creatures, cute creatures, creatures that will haunt your dreams. Even creatures that make no fucking sense whatsoever (looking at you, platypus). But there is one creature whose very existence is enough to make you wonder if Nature just stopped paying attention and evolution failed to do its duty. I’m talking, of course, about koalas. Australia’s favorite not-bears.

Now, I’m no koalaologist (that’s what they’re called, right?). I’m just a person with an internet connection and a love of weird animal factoids. And through hours (or, ok, tens of minutes) of careful research, I’ve realized that there is no reason koalas should exist. They’re pointless. Also, they’re kind of dicks.

Basically, they’re my spirit animal.

Let’s start with the koala lifestyle. They’re mostly nocturnal, and they sleep or rest for up to 18-22 hours a day. 18 to 22 mutherfuckin’ hours per day! As a lazy person, that is my dream, and I’m only slightly miffed that a marsupial is living out my #lifegoals. But the reason why they sleep so much is another story altogether.

It mostly has to do with their diet. You see, they eat eucalyptus leaves, which are toxic to most animals but NOPE! Koalas went ahead and evolved to exclusively eat something that provides almost no nutritional value and is super fibrous, making it hard to digest (and requiring a lot of energy to do so). They basically wake up long enough to grab some leaves, then pass out and and digest until they have the energy to do it all again. There is a reason they spend most of their time hanging out in their natural food source.

And they need lots of special gut bacteria to break down the eucalyptus, which is fine for the adults but gets awkward for their babies — which get the bacteria they need to survive by EATING THEIR MOM’S POOP. Well, it’s actually like the baby-food special version of poop, but you get the idea.

It might actually seem like an all-eucalyptus diet is a smart thing, considering there are like 500-800 varieties of the plant in Australia. But don’t give koalas too much credit. They’re fussy little bitches that only like to eat 50-100 varieties — and within a given region the koalas will only eat like 2-3 types. The rest aren’t good enough. But on the plus side, they rarely need to drink water, because they get all their hydration from the leaves. It’s sort of like how I dream of living entirely off soup.

In other weird/fascinating/pointless koala news:

They sound like pigs and trumpets and other things. And they chew like your annoying coworker in next cubicle. Oh god, they just sound fucking ridiculous.

Here’s an example of a bitchy koala crying like a baby because it got kicked out of a tree. Whilst watching this, my dog ran into the room because he was concerned about whatever was making that awful racket. Koalas are drama queens (and so is my dog).

They are particularly anti-social, unless they’re mating or raising a “joey.” Otherwise they like to have a whole tree to themselves. Mature male koalas even have a creepy chest gland they rub on their tree to scent mark it. While they will fight for territory, they aren’t very good at it because, you know, they don’t have the energy. It mostly looks like whining and grappling with random nap breaks. Instead they try to ignore the other koalas until they go away. It’s the ultimate cold-shoulder maneuver. It’s me at a party, getting hit on by a drunk guy.

They have unusually small brains (because of course they do, look at how they live their lives!). And they also have two thumbs on each front paw.

Oh, also? Get this. They’re dying of fucking chlamydia — and it’s getting out of control. About half of Australia’s koalas have the disease, and the effects on the population are brutal. Though it’s a different strain than the STD we’re (hopefully not personally) familiar with, OF FUCKING COURSE koalas can transmit it to humans. Through urine. So, you know, try not to get pissed on by a koala in Australia.

So while koalas may look cute and cuddly, they’re also anti-social, lazy, whiny, disease-ridden assholes. And they’re my heroes.

Tori Preston is the managing editor of Pajiba. She tweets here. You can also listen to her weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.