Trees: Koala air conditioning

Sprawling over a tree trunk may give these animals the ability to survive heat waves

By Susan Milius, 15:56 PM June 4, 2014

For koalas, sprawling against the trunk of a tree isn’t just a sign they are lazy. It could signal it’s hot — really hot. And that sprawl could provide more than half the cooling a koala needs to survive a typical hot summer day, new research shows.

Koalas don’t have dens. So there’s nowhere for them to retreat during a heat wave. Panting and licking their fur may bring some relief. But these tactics can use up precious water. In fact, it can put the animal at risk of becoming dehydrated. Flop...

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