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Tree Kangaroos

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Tree kangaroo gripping on the to branch of a tree

The Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) is a little known species closely related to the common land kangaroo. The main differences are its shorter, wider hind feet and its longer, narrower tail. It also has heavy, curved claws to help it climb and stay in position while sleeping in trees. Like its land cousin, tree kangaroos have pouches to carry their young. They communicate with each other in grunts, but it is rare for them to be in groups.

Tree kangaroos are approximately 20 to 30 inches tall and the tail ranges from 17 to 36 inches and is used for balance. Females weigh roughly 17lbs and males about 15lbs. They have black, red or mahogany body fur and a yellow face, stomach and feet. The fur is thick and somewhat long. Their face is muzzle-shaped with large eyes and small ears. They tend to have excellent vision.

They are awake during the day and sleep high up in trees. They can leap 30 feet downward to nearby trees and can jump to the ground from a height of up to 60 feet without injury, but they prefer walking to hopping.

Tree kangaroos are mostly found in northeastern Australia and Papua New Guinea. They tend to live alone in tropical forests, only grouping to mate. They have no particular breeding season. The young joey enters the pouch at birth and attaches to one of four nipples for two months. They come out for solid food at three months. They live for approximately 14 years.

Tree kangaroos are herbivores. Their diets consist of leaves, fruit, flowers and other vegetation. Their existence is threatened by hunters seeking them for food, and from forest destruction caused by logging, mining and agriculture.

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