Koalas are adorable animals, often found in Australia clinging onto a tree which is quite strange, but why do Koalas hug trees? There are plenty of arboreal animals that live in trees throughout the world and none of them seem to spend a lot of time hugging these trees, so why do Koalas hug them?
Temperature Regulation Makes Koalas Hug Trees
As it turns out, koalas can’t really sweat, much like dogs who pant instead, and kangaroos who lick their own arms to keep cool internally. The koala has developed a unique way to keep cool in Australia’s unforgiving heat, which is necessary considering just how much fur they have.
When it gets hot in Australia, it rarely rains, and so if koalas were to exhibit the same temperature regulating behaviour as kangaroos they would become dehydrated too quickly. If they left the tree to find water and cool down like this, they are leaving them selves vulnerable to predation and so most of the water a koala will ingest is from eucalyptus leaves that form their diet.
The Trees are Cooler than the Air
The trees are pulling ground water up through their trunks to get water to all parts of it, there is also a theory that they cool down so much at night they take longer to warm up that the air does during the day, but whatever the reason, on average the trees in Australia are about 5 degrees cooler than the surrounding air, so hugging these helps koalas skin cool down and regulate their body temperature, cooling it down by as much as 68%!