Tree Lickers

A koala bear sitting in a tree grabbing a branch

THIRSTY…but stuck in a tree?!  

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Sleeping for twenty hours, snacking for the other four? No, it’s not my COVID-nineteen work schedule – it’s a typical koala bear day! But HOW do koalas stay hydrated with such a “BUSY” routine?

Ask Valentina Mella from the University of Sydney. With the help of scientists and volunteers, she spied on koalas in Southeastern Australia. For over a decade, the team watched, videoed, and photographed bears in the wild. All to see where they get their water.

Surprise! Koalas NEVER climbed down from the trees! Instead, they wait for rain and shimmy to a branch with smooth tree bark. Then they lick rainwater that trickled down the trunk! Turns out koalas aren’t couch potatoes – they’re TREE potatoes! 

With future rainfall patterns being unpredictable, koalas might need help finding water. Placing watering stations in trees would allow koalas to live their best hydrated tree potato lives! 

Now….where’s MY water bottle? And do I REALLY have to get up and get it…?