This Wildlife Wednesday, learn about Australias largest tree-dwelling mammal – the tree kangaroo.
Habitat: rainforests in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Australia
Tree kangaroo trivia
- There are more than a dozen species of tree kangaroos.
- Tree kangaroos may seem a bit strange-looking, but they’re perfectly adapted for life in the trees. They can climb smooth tree trunks that we would find impossible. Their short but strong legs help them climb, and their massive tails (helpful for balancing) can measure as long as their bodies!
- Although they’re graceful in the trees, tree kangaroos move quite strangely and clumsily in the rare cases they’re on the ground, hopping in an alternating pattern between their forearms and legs, while their tail is held so it doesn’t touch the ground. This can make them vulnerable to predators, so they generally stick to the trees.
- Tree kangaroos are in the macropod family of marsupials, along with kangaroos and wallabies. Macropod ancestors started out in the trees, but then came down and evolved into many different species. The tree kangaroos’ ancestors, however, made their way back into the trees, where tree kangaroos have stayed ever since.
- Just like a terrestrial kangaroo, tree kangaroos’ offspring, called a “joey,” lives in its mother’s pouch and nurses for about ten months after being born.
Why they’re threatened and how you can help
Many of the tree kangaroo species are threatened, with some classified as endangered. The main concerns are the destruction of habitat and hunting. To help prevent illegal logging and habitat destruction, we can buy Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper and wood products.