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The heat is on for Australia’s beloved marsupials

Source: anu.edu.au

As Australia’s weather heats up, it could have serious consequences for some of our country’s most iconic animals, according to new research from The Australian National University (ANU).

The research shows marsupials like koalas, possums and gliders are forced to change their eating habits in hot weather because of the toxins found in Eucalyptus leaves.

The study has just been completed by PhD researcher Phillipa Beale.

“Processing the toxins generates body heat, which is obviously not ideal when it’s hot,” Ms Beale said.

“The animals compensate by eating less, which means they have less energy for everything else – including reproducing.

“It also influences their food selection. Evidence shows when it’s cool, koalas choose a mix of low, medium and high toxin leaves. When it gets really hot, they eat less, but they also avoid the higher toxin leaves.” MORE

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