Tree kangaroos belong to the family of Macropods, which are marsupials. Marsupials belonging to the macropodidae family include kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons to name only a few. The tree kangaroo is adapted to live on trees and is extremely fast and agile while maneuvering on trees and is comparatively slower while moving on land. These small kangaroos are found only within the rainforests of New Guinea, North-Eastern Queensland of Australia, and the surrounding islands.
There are 12 distinct species of tree kangaroos existing as of now on earth. The main adaptations of this species of kangaroos is that it has longer arms and shorter hind legs as compared to other kangaroos. This evolution allows them to be the excellent tree dwellers that they are. The adaptation of tree kangaroos and what makes these animals so unique is being dealt in this article.
Adaptation of the Tree Kangaroo
- Tree kangaroos have fur which is usually a deep shade of red or brown. They dwell in trees which have similar shades of leaves and branches, which offers a great camouflage for these little animals.
- Male tree kangaroos are bigger in size than the females. The adult tree kangaroo is usually about 20-30 inches long and has an equally long tail!
- The forearms of the tree kangaroos are longer and much more stronger than land dwelling kangaroo species. The tree kangaroo also has shorter feet with broader proportions, as this allows the animal to grip rounder tree surfaces. The feet have rubbery soles, which protect the animal from slipping. All the limbs have sharp and long claws which are slightly curved inwards, these offer the animal with a great grip while scaling trees.
- The animal's tail supports its body weight and is used for balancing. The tail wraps around the branch while it is stationary and will prevent it from falling.
- It is believed that the tree kangaroos are related to the small possum kangaroos and certain extinct tree marsupials, which are tree dwellers as well. It is though that all kangaroos were initially tree inhabitants but began to evolve in order to live on vast open lands. Nonetheless a few returned to trees, when the space on land began to dwindle and the threat from predators increased.
- These kangaroos are clumsy on land and hop while propelling their upper body forward, and have obvious difficulties handling their long heavy tails.
- On the contrary, when ascending or descending trees, these animals are powerful and extremely fast. Tree kangaroos live at altitudes as high as 6000 feet and can jump from almost 59 feet above the ground, without a moment's hesitation, and without getting injured!
- They are also excellent at skipping trees and will jump from one tree to a tree that is 30 feet away within a matter of seconds!
- These kangaroos usually feed on leaves, fruits and fresh shoots. However, they also enjoy eating bird eggs, small birds, grain, fruits and sap.
- The animal's teeth are better suited for omnivorous diet, making it easy for it to chew on tree bark, and leaves. They do not feed on grass as they cannot digest the thin blades well.
- They have huge stomachs which are populated with bacteria and enzymes, which help the animal digest vegetation efficiently.
- These are solitary animals and are extremely territorial in nature. The males become aggressive when another male tree kangaroo tries to encroach its domain.
- These animals have milk glands and thus fall into the category of Metatheria, also deemed as ever changing animals.
- The mating season is undefined and the gestation period lasts for 32 days, after which 1 young one is born to each female.
The tree kangaroo habitat is under extreme threat due to deforestation, which is causing the population of this animal to dwindle drastically. This animal is mercilessly hunted for its meat, which is preferred by the natives of the area. Tree kangaroos are also hunted for their fur and body parts, which puts them under the perpetual threat of extinction. Conversational measures are being taken, but more steps need to be taken to save this animal from dying out.