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Tree kangaroo

Tree Kangaroos
Scientific classification
D. inustus
D. lumholtzi
D. bennettianus
D. ursinus
D. matschiei
D. dorianus
Tree kangaroos are macropods adapted for aboreal life. They are found only in the rainforests of New Guinea, far north-eastern Queensland, and nearby islands, usually in mountainous areas.

It is understood that tree kangaroos evolved from creatures similar to modern kangaroos and wallabies, as they retain many of the standard macropod adaptations to plains life—notably the massive hind legs and long, narrow feet which, in more orthodox macropods, make fast, economical travel possible. Tree kangaroos, however, are slow and clumsy on the ground. Instead, they have developed exceptionally long tails for balance, and stronger forelimbs for climbing with. The feet are shorter and wider, they have longer claws on all feet, and rubbery soles for better grip.

Though unable to move at much more than walking pace on the ground—hopping awkwardly with the body leaning far forward to balance the heavy tail—in trees they are bold and agile. They climb by wrapping the forelimbs around the trunk of a tree and hopping with the powerful hind legs, allowing the forelimbs to slide. They are expert leapers: 9 metre downward jumps from one tree to another have been recorded, and they have an extraordinary ability to jump to the ground from height without ill effect: 18 metres or more.

The main diet items are leaves and fruit, taken both in trees and on the ground. Other morsels are accepted when available, including grain, flowers, sap, bark, eggs and young birds. Their teeth are adapted for tearing leaves rather than cutting grass.

  • The Grizzled Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus inustus) from northern and western New Guinea, plus Japen and Waigeo islands.
  • Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi), Queensland.
  • Bennett's Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus), Queemsland.
  • Vogelkop Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus ursinus), western New Guinea.
  • Matschie's Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei), eastern New Guinea.
  • Authorities differ on the status of Goodfellow's Tree-kangaroo, some regarding it as D. goodfellowi, others regarding it as a subspecies of D. matschiei.
  • Unicolored Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus dorianus), far western, central, and southeastern New Guinea.

Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo

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