Huckleberries Online

Cute news: Why koalas hug trees

A 6-month-old koala hangs onto its mother Thursday, April 14, 2011, at The Los Angeles Zoo, in Los Angeles. The Zoo is experiencing a baby boom with the birth of the koala, and the March births of two Peninsular pronghorns and a female desert bighorn sheep. The Zoo presented the new additions on Thursday. (Nick Ut / Associated Press)
A 6-month-old koala hangs onto its mother Thursday, April 14, 2011, at The Los Angeles Zoo, in Los Angeles. The Zoo is experiencing a baby boom with the birth of the koala, and the March births of two Peninsular pronghorns and a female desert bighorn sheep. The Zoo presented the new additions on Thursday. (Nick Ut / Associated Press)

(Newser) – Using thermal cameras, researchers in Australia uncovered the science behind a habit that seems, well, cute: Koala bears hug trees to cool themselves. It turns out that tree trunks can be up to 12 degrees cooler than the air, and with Australia's recent hot spells rising well above 100 degrees, koalas get extra huggy. Conversely, in the cold of winter, the marsupials tend to climb higher into trees, closer to the leaves they eat. The scientists came to their conclusion after using thermal cameras on a particularly hot day. "If we had thermal vision, it would have been an obvious thing," a University of Melbourne researcher tells the BBC. "You could see the koala sitting on the coolest part of the tree trunk with its bottom wedged right into the coolest spot."   Full story.

Cindy: Now you know. You're welcome.




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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.









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