Scientists have solved a lingering thriller about koala behaviour – how these tree-dwelling marsupials native to Australia devour sufficient water to stay.
A brand new research describes koala consuming behaviour within the wild for the primary time, discovering that they lick water working down the graceful floor of tree trunks throughout rainfall – a phenomenon known as “stemflow” – and don’t rely merely on the water content material of the leaves that make up their food plan.
The findings, which the researchers mentioned could also be helpful in koala conservation efforts, had been based mostly on 46 observations of koalas within the wild from 2006 to 2019, principally at You Yangs Regional Park in Victoria state.
“I feel the principle message is that behavioral observations within the wild are crucial to ascertain what’s regular and what’s uncommon, and to really perceive what animals want. If we watch them rigorously, they’ll inform us,” mentioned College of Sydney ethologist Valentina Mella, lead writer of the analysis revealed this week within the journal Ethology.
Koalas, which aren’t bears regardless of a standard false impression, spend most of their lives excessive up in eucalyptus timber. They depend on a food plan of eucalyptus leaves, usually consuming round 1.1 to 1.eight kilos (500 to 800 grams) every day.
The phrase Koala is believed to have meant “no drink” in one of many Australian Aboriginal languages. The query of their water consumption had lengthy been puzzling.
“Koalas have been alleged to by no means drink free water within the wild, or to drink solely often. Consuming habits has typically been thought of uncommon and attributed to illness or to extreme warmth stress,” Mella mentioned.
“Koalas had been thought to achieve the vast majority of the water that they require from the moisture content material within the leaves that they feed on and to drink water unintentionally within the wild by consuming moist leaves after rain, or when dew is current on the leaf floor,” Mella added.
They sleep about 20 hours a day to preserve power as a result of their food plan requires a whole lot of power to digest.
“Koalas are nocturnal animals, so they’re solely lively at night time, and they’re arboreal, which signifies that they stay in timber and depend on them for meals, shelter and, as we simply found, additionally for consuming,” Mella mentioned.
“Koalas really spend 98% of their lives in timber and the one time they’re on the bottom is when they’re looking for one other tree with a extra beneficiant meals provide or a mate.”
(This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Solely the headline has been modified.)