It has been discovered that koalas hug trees to cool themselves down as the trunks have a much lower temperature than the surrounding area.
A study of a koala population conducted on French Island, near Melbourne, found that significantly cooler temperatures in tree trunks and thick branches during a heatwave provide relief to the animal which, unlike a lot of tree-dwelling mammals, does not use hollows or dens for shelter. “They’re just stuck out on the tree all the time so when hot weather comes they’re completely exposed to it,” Dr Michael Kearney from the University of Melbourne’s Zoology department told Guardian Australia. “When a heatwave comes the most effective way for the koala to lose heat is through evaporation. They don’t sweat but they can pant and lick their fur,” he said. However, in times of high heat and low rainfall, koalas, which don’t have sweat glands, cannot sustain the evaporation.