The question of how koalas get enough water to survive has long puzzled scientists [File: Steve Holland, AP Photo]

Scientists have solved a lingering mystery about koala behaviour – how the tree-dwelling marsupials native to Australia drink enough water to live.

A new study describes koala drinking behaviour in the wild for the first time, finding that they lick water running down the smooth surface of tree trunks during rainfall – a phenomenon called “stemflow” – and do not rely merely on the water content of the leaves that make up their diet.

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The findings, which the researchers said may be useful in koala conservation efforts, were based on 46 observations of koalas in the wild from 2006 to 2019, mostly at You Yangs

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