Koala Bears

May 25

In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.. - Revelation 22:2 NKJV

Koala bears eat leaves, nothing but leaves. And only the leaves of a few species of eucalyptus trees, at that. The primary ingredient of eucalyptus leaves is a bitter oil, but the bears like it so much that they eat an average of two and a half pounds daily.

Back in grandfather’s day, eucalyptus oil was sometimes rubbed on the chest of a person suffering from a cold. When used that way, the oil fills the air with its pungent odor. In strong doses it burns the eyes and makes the nose itch. A tiny bit of eucalyptus oil is now mixed with a lot of sugar and other flavors to become the basis for most cough candy.

Consequently, it is no surprise that koala bears smell like strong cough drops, a characteristic that has a very beneficial result for the animal. There isn’t an insect known that will bother a koala. Fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks ignore it, so it just lives peace­fully in the eucalyptus trees munching on medicine.

Eucalyptus leaves have many ingredients besides oil, how­ever. Different species have different chemicals that have interest­ing effects on the koalas that prefer them. In the warm climate of northern Australia, koalas eat only leaves that contain cineole, a substance that works in the body to lower blood pressure and body heat. In the south, where the climate is cooler, the animals eat leaves containing phellandrene, which increases body temperature.

For the koala, the eucalyptus is, in a sense, the tree of life, though of course it doesn’t keep the animal living forever. Even with its medicinal qualities, the eucalyptus tree cannot give everlasting life. However, in Genesis 3:22 we learn that man can live forever by eating of the tree of life. In Revelation 2:7, Jesus promises He will give us to eat of the tree of life. Those leaves must be delicious!

Windows on God’s World – James Tucker