Drinking koala


Drinking koala

In the photo - koala licks water from a trunk eucalyptus after rain in the Yu Youngs Regional Park (3-3-331. You Yangs Regional Park 3-3-3164.) Australian state 3-3-333. Victoria . For a long time, it was believed that koalas had enough fluid obtained from food. But recently, scientists have found that this is not so.

Koalas feed mainly on eucalyptus leaves and 3–3–335. prefer 3-3-3164. those that contain at least 55% water (see picture of the day Koalas diet ): before eating a leaf, they sniff it and taste it. Koalas choose trees that grow near water bodies, as their leaves have more moisture. These marsupials lead a completely inactive lifestyle, spending up to 22 hours in a dream, 3–3–339. minimum lose water through the skin and respiration. Therefore, scientists have long believed that they have enough water received from food. But not during a drought.

Koalas live in eastern Australia, in areas with 3-3-345. maximum summer temperature 37.7 ° C. At higher temperatures during dry seasons, many koalas are 3–3–345. 3-3-3164 die. from dehydration, because at this time the water in the leaves is not enough. In such periods, koalas drinking water from natural reservoirs or pools were repeatedly observed. This was the case, for example, during the heat and drought before forest fires in Victoria in 2009. The air temperature was then above 43 ° C (maximum 46.4 ° C).

During particularly devastating fires that began last year (see 2019–20 Australian bushfire season ), Rescue workers and local residents gave koalas to drink bottled water, and stories and photographs depicting such touching moments spread around the world. But watering the animals from the bottle was not a good idea: is known. at least one case where a koala, which was saved from a fire after drinking water, died of 3-3-3353. aspiration pneumonia 3-3-3164. (due to water entering the lungs). Drinking water with his head thrown back is unnatural and dangerous for koalas; rescuers did not know this. After this incident, veterinarians recommended people water animals from bowls, putting them on the ground.


Drinking koala

A cyclist drinks a koala on Adelaide hills , state South Australia . Photo from the site metro.co.uk


In 2016 scientists spent 3-3-3164. experiment, whether animals will drink water from drinking bowls placed on the ground and trees. The study lasted for a year in the state of 3–3–381. New South Wales and showed that koalas actively use drinkers, drink water regularly, even in the cold months. But more often all the same in hot and dry weather.


Drinking koala

Koalas near drinkers in New South Wales. Photo from article V. S. A. Mella et al., 2019.3-3r3101. Needing a drink: Rainfall and temperature drive the use of free water by a threatened arboreal folivore


But do koalas drink water, not exhausted by dehydration and not having drinkers carefully set by scientists? Do they really have enough water from eucalyptus leaves? An article published in May of this year, 3-3-3143. shows that yes, they drink. For 2006–2019 scientists 3–3–3143 in the Yu Youngs Regional Park in Victoria. 3-3-3164 was observed. 44 cases when marsupial animals licked water from branches and trunks of trees during or after rain. Two more koalas who drink this way were spotted by local environmentalists on the Liverpool Plains ( Liverpool Plains ) In New South Wales. All these observations were made more or less by accident, since during heavy rains and thunderstorms studies are usually not carried out because of their insecurity for scientists. Similar observations, but isolated, were described as far back as the 70-80s of the last century, but such behavior was considered an exception. Now we can say that this is the usual behavior of koalas.

An adult male koala licks water from a eucalyptus trunk during rain. The video was made on October 112019 in New South Wales by local environmentalists. The koala drank for 3–3–3169 for 34 minutes.

Koalas preferred trees with smooth bark, because it is easier to lick water from them, and generally chose trees for life and food so that they are convenient for drinking. Moreover, koalas, which were on the ground during the rain, climbed a tree to drink. Several of the koalas captured on video immediately ate leaves after drinking. It remains a mystery whether they tried to get more water in this way or if the leaves just got tastier.


Drinking koala

Koalas drink water, licking tree trunks during or after rain. Photo from article V. S. A. Mella et al., 2020.3-3r3143. An insight into natural koala drinking behavior


Drinking behavior of koalas did not depend on the season, nor on the amount of precipitation, nor on how far or close the ponds are located. That is, this is clearly normal behavior, not stressful.

Why didn’t they know this before? The fact is that koalas are nocturnal animals, and it is difficult to observe their behavior, and even more so during rains. In addition, in Australia a very dry period has been going on for several years, so it’s very difficult to notice a koala drinking (or at least wait for the rain!).

Now scientists know that koalas need to drink water not only during hot, dry periods. And this is very important knowledge that will allow developing measures to restore their population that suffered during the last season of forest fires: 3-3-3155. estimated by International Animal Welfare Fund 3-3-3164. (IFAW) it claimed the lives of more than 6000 koalas (about 1.2–1.8% of the total population).

Photo from the site sci-news.com , You Yangs Regional Park , state of Victoria, Australia.

Nadezhda Potapova

27 май 2020 /
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