December 29, 2016 15:02:58
Native animals in Australia are very well adapted to hot weather and will seek out a drink and a breeze where possible.
Many do not experience the tell-tale signs of being hot, though.
Kangaroos, for example, do not sweat and need to lick themselves to stay cool.
Emma Malik, a keeper at Wild Life Sydney Zoo, explained how three of the most common native animals you might see in your backyard will beat the heat on a scorching summer’s day.
Koalas are pretty well adapted to staying cool in summer.
“They just laze around in the shade and wait for the heat to go away.
“Those in the wild climb to the highest tree, stay there and simply wait for the heat to pass — minimal movement.”
Koalas have to sleep about 18 to 20 hours a day due to their diet.
Eucalyptus leaves are low in nutrition and toxic to most animals so to counter the poison, koalas have a low metabolic rate giving them low energy and therefore a need to rest.
At Wild Life Sydney Zoo, keepers give the koalas a helping hand and have a large industrial fan to create a breeze in their enclosure.
Sugar gliders are part of the possum family and are nocturnal so they get the benefit of cooler weather in the evenings.
During the day, they are often found nestled in the shade of a tree hollow.
As they glide, they also generate airflow which keeps them cool.
On very hot days, Ms Malik prepares frozen treats for the sugar gliders that include bananas, passionfruit, melon and insectivore mix.
These colourful birds are usually found in northern Australia playing in the burrows of a shady tree during a hot day.
“Lorikeets love to bathe in the wild,” Ms Malik said.
“You can always tell when a lorikeet is hot because you will find them panting and opening up their wings.
“They also tend to do that if they’ve been flying too much, are scared or stressed.”
December 29, 2016 12:32:05