Koalas don’t drink, says the legend. But they do!
True, koalas drink in a slightly different way to most animals.
Koalas are arboreal – which means they live in trees. They do almost everything high in a tree. They mate, give birth, eat, urinate, defecate …. AND drink in a tree.
When it rains, koalas do drink by licking the raindrops as they run down the trunks of gum-trees. Watch:
This sort of koala drinking works best on smooth-barked eucalyptus trees, for example River Red Gums, Yellow Gums and Blue Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis, E. leucoxylon & E. globulus/pseudoglobulus). It is possible that koalas move to these types of trees to drink when they expect rain.
Koala drinking also works best on vertical large branches and trunks, so that the rain pools and runs down into their mouths.
We have watched koalas rush to get into a good position for drinking.
They also get more moisture from gum-leaves if they eat while its raining. We have seen that koalas are more likely to start feeding if its raining.
Their method of drinking relies on rain. Rain needs to be fairly consistent. Unfortunately in many parts of Australia rainfall is less consistent – some areas, like the You Yangs where these videos are taken, are experiencing record low rainfall, other regions are having floods. Reliable rainfall is yet another casualty of climate change in Australia.
Koalas are thirsty. And not just in summer.
Research conducted by the University of Sydney has found that koalas will drink from water troughs mounted in trees, all year round.
Support Wild Koala Day on May 3. Share a koala post on social media. Tag #wildkoaladay. Call a politician. Show our governments that its time for them to act on climate change.