Tree hugging Koalas

Every one knows how hot the Australian wilderness can get – here at Scantherma we’ve certainly had more than our fair share of experience. We usually slip, slop, slap and find cover to escape the heat, but what if you’re a little furry marsupial?

Most Australian fauna will hide from the sun by burrowing underground, seeking shelter in caves or invading our backyard swimming pools.


No this is not a pool ornament or a deflated pool toy. It’s a REAL crocodile.


But what do you do if you live most of your life in a tree?

Koalas (Drop Bears) have until recently, been thought of as lazy, cute fuzzy little creatures that live in trees, and only come down to find another tree to climb up. They’re often seen clinging onto tree trunks, eating and sleeping. But now, thanks to research done by the University of Melbourne’s Zoology department, it turns out that there’s a deeper reason why Koalas hug trees so tight, especially in the summer. And it’s not because they’re lonely.

Sleepy Koala

During your average heat wave, the temperature in the Australian bush can reach over 50 degrees C, and around 45 degrees C in the shade.  To survive this blistering climate, Koalas do what they do best, hug trees.

The reason is simple. Depsite the unbearable heat, a large tree’s core temperature stays comparatively low. This makes it very convenient for the Koala as the tree is both its shelter and food source.

Below are some thermal images taken by Steve Griffiths that show the Koalas in action, or rather no-action and just laying there cooling down.


It can be clearly seen here that the tree trunk in shades of purple is much, much cooler than the Koala’s body.


Both a cooler and a bed, oh and a kitchen, and maybe many other things. This tree is everything to the Koala.



Looks like Koalas have the ideal life style.

So next time you see a Koala hanging out, remember that it is actually working hard to cool down by using its surroundings and conserving energy and water. Not so lazy after all!

If you would like to find out more about Thermal Imagery and how it can help you visit our Thermal Imaging page here, or come and visit us at our Perth office and one of our friendly technicians will gladly assist.