A 2014 study has found that koala bears hug trees to keep cool.
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On hotter days, the trunks can be several degrees cooler than the ambient air temperature, and the koalas drape their whole bodies on the cooler branch.
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Here, a male koala bear perches on a tree branch. On cooler days the marsupials don't cling so tightly to the branches.
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Here, an image shows the temperature difference between the koala bear and the tree it is resting on.
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A koala hugs a tree to keep cool.
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Credit: S. Griffiths
Koalas pant in order to cool themselves, but hugging cool tree trunks means they don't have to waste precious water panting.
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The findings could have implications for how the koala's distribution will change with climate change, the researchers said.
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Tia has interned at Science News, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.