Who says Koalas don’t drink?
This Koala was observed drinking from a water trough in Pinkerton Forest at midnight. Photo dates record that the Koala spent 18 minutes drinking! Beginning at 12.00 and finishing at 1218! A long drink. While it was drinking a Brush-tailed Possum joined it for a drink then left, leaving the thirsty Koala still drinking. Both the Possum (the Possum is usually accompanied by a juvenile) and the Koala seem to be regular visitors to the water trough. Koalas are widely acknowledged as not drinking. The very name Koala is said to mean ‘no drink’.
Perhaps this is evidence that drought is taking its toll. Some evidence suggests that it times of drought the eucalpts become heat stressed, resulting in less moisture being available in gum leaves for the Koalas.
Other information suggests that Koalas may drink from rain that runs along smooth-barked eucalypts. Grey Box trees lack such smooth bark and rain has been sporadic this spring.
Or perhaps Koalas simply drink more than we think we do?
We were surprised to find that the water trough is used so extensively by native wildlife. The water has been provided in the forest as livestock are brought in to graze from time to time for environmental purposes. Sheep are introduced to control exotic annual weed grasses in spring, grazing them befre they set seed. This also prevents the proliferation of spring-flowering exotic annuals from becoming a fire hazard later in summer. The water trough provided for livestock also provides water for thirsty native wildlife. An example of pastoral activities complementing protecting the native environment.