Koalala's Digestive System

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In herbivores their digestive system is much larger than comparably sized carnivores.
A Koala’s diet mainly consists of eucalyptus leaves, these leaves contain a large amount of water; because of this the Koala rarely needs to drink water. Eucalyptus leaves are tough so the Koala’s teeth play an important role in digestion as they need strong teeth to consume the eucalyptus leaves. The first part of the digestive tract is the mouth and teeth, there are 30 teeth for chewing in a Koala’s mouth, just like in a human a koala has four types of teeth, the incisors, canines, premolars and molars. The teeth have two important roles, first they must break the plant cells and detach the nutrients they contain and second they must cut up the food into smaller particles for digestion. The incisors are used to control the branch as the koala positions the leaf in the mouth for further mastication and the premolars are used to rip the leaves off the tree. The leaves then, by the tongue, are moved to a large gap called the diastema which is located in between the incisors and the
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The stomach also includes a gastric gland, this secretes juices into the stomach to assist in breaking down food particles and extracting vital nutrients. The stomach contains large groups of micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi and protests which all have a main role of breaking down the plant material that herbivores eat, this is a process known as fermentation. The major sources of nutrients required for the koala are mainly products that are formed from the fermentation process. In comparison to a Kangaroo’s fermentation chamber, a koala’s is towards the hind end of the digestive tract. After passing through the stomach, the food enters the small intestine. 80 per cent of the energy a koala requires comes from the digestion of the cell contents of eucalyptus leaves in the small

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