Lemurs hug tree trunks to cool down when temperatures top 30°C


A type of lemur called white sifakas embraces the base of some trees to release heat, with the base of the tree trunk being up to 5°C cooler than the surrounding air



Life



22 September 2022

Lemurs hugging trees to cool down on the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve in southwest Madagascar

Lemurs hugging trees to cool down on the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve in southwest Madagascar

Chloe Chen-Kraus

Lemurs may hug trees to keep cool on sweltering days.

Chloe Chen‑Kraus, affiliated with Yale University, and her colleagues noticed that in the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve in southwest Madagascar, a type of lemur called white sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi) hugs the base of tree trunks on particularly hot days.

“When we first saw it, it was just so unusual because these are highly arboreal [tree dwelling] primates,” she says.

With sifakas having fewer sweat glands …

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