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Tree Kangaroos: Your Friends Up High

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We tree kangaroos, also known as boongary in Australia, are a small type of kangaroo in the marsupial family, which includes wallabies and kangaroos. Like our other cousins, we also develop in a pouch, but we are unique for being the only tree-dwelling members among our kangaroo relatives. What’s more, most of us are cathemeral, meaning we’re active during the day and at night.

Moving up, down, forward, and backward along branches comes easy to us due to our ability to rotate our ankles and move our hind legs independently, while our long, narrow tail helps provide us balance. If we need to get from one place to another – or even avoid danger – we can safely and quickly freefall to the forest ground from up to 20 meters above. This incredible ability to jump from such great heights is thanks to our thick, padded hind feet, which cushion our fall when we land. Our upper arms and paws are also powerful extensions; they help us climb, hang, and forage amongst the trees, making us expert climbers.

We tree kangaroos are naturally very smart. From the moment we are born, the size of a tiny jelly bean, we already know how to crawl. This means we can immediately find our way into our mother’s pouch to nurse. Young tree kangaroos, or joeys, are very precious to our clan as females can only give birth to one baby at a time. Joeys will stay and grow in the mother’s pouch until they are about seven-months-old. Then, at about eight-months, they’ll begin to go in and out of the pouch. There are quite a few varieties of tree kangaroos – 14 known subspecies, to be exact.

However, the populations of our species have been declining over the years as a result of habitat loss and illegal hunting. Thus, protecting wildlife areas and habitats is crucial to our survival.

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