Koalas hug trees to stay cool.

Koalas hugging cool trees can reduce their body temperatures by almost 70 per cent
A KOALA SPRAWLED on the trunk of a eucalyptus isn’t just resting its paws; it’s hugging the tree to stay cool in hot weather, according to researchers from the University of Melbourne.
“If we all had infrared vision, we’d have known all along what koalas are doing,” says lead author of the study Dr Michael Kearney, senior lecturer in zoology at the University of Melbourne.
It was Michael’s student, zoology postgraduate Natalie Briscoe who first stumbled across this phenomenon while measuring the microclimates of koala habitats in south-eastern Australia.
The team had a thermal-imaging camera on hand, and were surprised to discover that the tree trunks – the ones with koalas splayed across them – were on average more than 5°C cooler than the surrounding temperature.
In hot weather animals and birds often avoid overheating via ‘evaporative cooling’. Humans produce sweat, which evaporates and cools the skin in the process.
Animals that don’t have sweat glands often pant like dogs or lick their fur to achieve the same effect. However, for tree-dwelling animals saliva is a luxury they can’t spare.
“Koalas are stuck up on a tree. They pant and lick their fur, but that’s emergency stuff,” explains Michael. “They don’t have much in the way of drinking water. So, if you’re a koala, you want to minimise the amount of water you lose.”
via Koalas hug trees to keep cool – Australian Geographic.

2 thoughts on “Koalas hug trees to stay cool.

Please Leave A Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.