Species Dendrolagus spp.
Tree Kangaroo Basics
Tree kangaroo is known to live largely in trees. Tree kangaroos are a collection of fourteen different marsupial species belonging to the Dendrolagus genus. In Australia, West Papua, and Papua New Guinea. Their appearance is similar to that of kangaroos, but they are often smaller. Tree kangaroos are designated as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List due to their narrow range and rising threat from human habitat degradation.
Tree kangaroos are only found in New Guinea’s rain forests and northeast Australia. Other tiny islands in the area are also known to be home to them. The majority of people reside in mountainous areas. The lowland tree kangaroo, for example, is an exception (D. spadix). They eat a variety of tree fruits and leaves from the treetops, as well as scavenge from the ground.
Tree Kangaroo Appearance
When they’re on the ground, they jump about like their terrestrial counterparts. Tree kangaroos, on the other hand, possess longer, more robust tails that aid with equilibrium and movement. Their fur is often a variety of hues of brown and tan on their bodies, with a lighter cream tint on their faces. Their rear feet are larger and wider, helping them to more easily grasp branches of trees and maintain balance. Also, their nails are longer. This permits them to ascend by gripping the tree’s bark. Finally, their feet and paws feature a distinctive sponge-like grip that adds to their traction.
The general appearance of numerous tree kangaroo varieties is comparable. There is, nevertheless, a variance in size across species. Lumholtz’ tree kangaroo, for example, is the tiniest tree kangaroo, as little as 13 pounds (5.9 kg) and 19–26 inches (48–65 cm) in length (without its almost equal-length tail). The Grizzled tree kangaroo, on the other hand, may reach 35 inches (90 cm) in length and weigh up to 15 kilograms (33 lb). Matschie’s tree kangaroo is in the centre, weighing around 25 lb (11 kg) and reaching a length of 32 in (80 cm). During the monsoon season, tree kangaroos are more likely to reproduce.
Female tree kangaroos only have one offspring every year, which, similar to other kangaroos, they usually refer to as a joey. The Joeys would stay with their mothers until they reached maturity. They will first hide in a pouch on the mother’s front, comparable to the behaviour of various kangaroos as well as marsupial juveniles.
Living Under Threat
A scary neighbour lives in the forest where they live. The tree kangaroo’s natural predator is the amethystine python (Simalia amethistina), which lives in the same rain forests as the tree kangaroo. They will eat juvenile tree kangaroos, although adults of most species are also prey.
Numerous tree kangaroo species are endangered with extinction due to poaching. Degradation of habitat, like that of other species, is a major hazard to their existence. Tree kangaroos are unlikely to flourish if they don’t have access to trees to reside in. As human-wildlife interactions become more common across the globe, animals like tree kangaroos are becoming more vulnerable to additional hazards, including assault by domesticated or wild canines and felines.
Fun Facts about Tree Kangaroo!
Lost and Found
The Wondiwoi tree kangaroo (D. mayri) is one of the 25 “most-wanted” missing species on Global Wildlife Conservation’s “Search for Lost Species” campaign. The following is a collection of endangered animals that have not been seen in at least many years. Numerous individuals live in remote or inaccessible regions. As a result, although it is unknown if they are extinct, it is also unknown whether any persist.
While visiting Papua New Guinea in 2018, a traveller obtained hazy images of what seemed to be a Wondiwoi tree kangaroo. The sighting, on the other hand, continues to be studied and validated. If confirmed, this would be the earliest observation of this species as of the 1930s, during the Great Depression.
Like terrestrial kangaroos, tree kangaroos aren’t really intended to perspire in the same way that various other animals do. Perspiration is a thermoregulatory process. It helps us to feel a cooling sensation by promoting the evaporation of moisture from the skin. Kangaroos, on the other hand, exert their own sweat. Both kangaroos and tree kangaroos licked their forearms that permit the saliva to flow, that has a similar cooling sensation to sweat.
Rare But Many
In the late Eocene, the rain forests of Australia began to burn up. A new rockier habitat allowed species like the rock-wallaby to evolve (Petrogale spp.). Because of their need for many kinds of plants, rock wallabies evolved into generalist feeders. As certain rain forests that had traditionally only existed in Asia began to expand over Australia, rock wallabies prospered as a result of these generalist techniques. They would eventually evolve to climb and inhabit trees, giving birth to the Bohra genus of tree kangaroos, which is now extinct.
Rainforests shrank as the land dried up during the Pleistocene’s global cooling. Many Bohra populations eventually became separated from one another, allowing the evolution of the current tree kangaroos of the genus Dendrolagus.
Unfortunately, the habitats of tree kangaroos are shrinking. However, the loss of their environment caused by humans happens at a significantly quicker pace than the described evolutionary procedures, which typically take millions of years or even more. This time, tree kangaroos are more vulnerable to going extinct than developing.