Friday, September 23, 2011


Continuing our theme of animals you wouldn’t normally expect to find in trees is the tree kangaroo. Closely related to terrestrial kangaroos and wallabies, these marsupials have evolved with unique features to adapt to life far above the forest floor.
Photo: Timmy Toucan
There a 14 species of tree kangaroos all living in the rainforests of New Guinea or northeastern Australia. Though color and appearance can vary by species, most are less than four feet long (including tail) and weigh less than 30lbs.

Compared to land-based kangaroos tree kangaroos have proportionally smaller legs, stronger forelimbs and heavier tails, making them somewhat clumsy on the ground. However, once up in the trees they are very agile. For climbing, they wrap their strong forelimbs around tree branches and propel themselves upwards with powerful leaps. Descending is even quicker, as tree kangaroos can jump out of trees from heights of up to 60 feet without injury. 
Tree kangaroos are omnivores that feed on a variety of leaves, fruit, grain and occasionally eggs and small birds. Habitat loss and hunting has led to nearly all species of tree kangaroos being classified as vulnerable or endangered.

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