Close

Country

News

Why do koalas hang out in trees?

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Courtesy: Wikipedia


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, June 5, 2014, 1:15 PM - A new study out of Melbourne University used thermal imaging to reveal that koalas rest on trees to help cope with extreme heat.

The research team studied the behaviour of 30 koalas during a bout of hot weather east of Melbourne.

They found that while panting and licking fur helps keep body temperature down, it can lead to dehydration. Resting on cooler tree trunks, on the other hand, provides an effortless solution.


RELATED: What is the world's deadliest animal?


"We found trunks of some tree species can be over 5°C cooler than the air during hot weather," said lead researcher Natalie Briscoe, in a statement.

"Access to these trees can save about half the water a koala would need to keep cool on a hot day. This significantly reduces the amount of heat stress for koalas."

The researchers say the findings are important because they confirmed the theory that 'tree-hugging' is helps koalas -- and possibly other animals -- deal with extreme heat. 

"Heat wave events can hit koala populations hard," said study collaborator Professor Andrew Krockenberger, from James Cook University in a statement.

"About a quarter of the koalas in one population died during a heat-wave of 2009, so understanding the types of factors that can make some populations more resilient is important.”

RELATED VIDEO: PROTECTING ENDANGERED SPECIES -- THE OKAPI

Five photos (and one video) that caught our eye: Thursday edition
Scientists concerned over China's controversial plan to bulldoze 700 mountains
Light from 12 billion year-old explosion hits Earth
Turning garbage to fuel and powering a city with the sun: Canada celebrates World Environment Day

Leave a Comment

What do you think? Join the conversation.
Default saved
Close

Search Location

POINTCAST

Look up Canadian postal code or US zip code

Close