The Tree Kangaroo in the Atherton Tablelands

I know what you’re thinking. There’s a kangaroo that lives in a tree? The answer is surprisingly yes. Although they are not nearly as large as the ones that live on the ground, they are the only animal that is a direct descendent from the original Tree Kangaroo family. Located specifically in Atherton Tablelands, Northeastern Queensland, these marsupials are rarely seen. Because they live in trees, deforestation has become a giant problem with keeping these little animals alive.

Tree Kangaroos are much different than the kangaroos that live on the ground. They have longer tails, bigger hind legs, and soft paws to grasp tree branches better. They are much smaller in comparison, and mainly live at the top of trees, where there is an abundance of leaves and berries. Tree Kangaroos survive on fruit and plants in their native habitat. They are also much more comfortable in higher altitudes, rather than closer to the ground.

There are two known types of Tree Kangaroos in Queensland; Bennett’s and Lumholtz’s. These sub-species are similar in colour, with a deep copper colour for their fur. The Lumholtz’s Kangaroo is the smallest of the species, only weighing around 7 kilos. Another interesting fact is that these kangaroos don’t hop, they walk.

The Bennett Kangaroo is much larger, weighing around 16 kilos. The Bennett’s Kangaroo is also much more agile and can jump from tree branches that are 9 metres down. Their bushy tails are used for balance when climbing and walking on branches.

These special kangaroos have their own territory where they live, not allowing another kangaroo besides their baby to live in the same proximity. They are extremely territorial and will put up a fight to protect their land. These kangaroos are also rare, only having one joey a year.

If you’re keen to seek these critters out, the best time to locate them is at night with a spotlight as they are nocturnal. They have been mainly located at Crater National Park in Queensland.

These kangaroos have similar habits to a koala. They sit up in their trees majority of the day, resting. They make little movement to eat, drink, and clean themselves. Only 10% of their time is used to move around, the rest they are lazy couch potatoes!

The Tree Kangaroo in Australia is an odd-looking species that is only found in a small area of the country. Like many things in Australia, it’s only seen by those who take the time to seek out adventure.

We quite often see the Tree Kangaroo on our Atherton Tablelands Tour although they can be a little elusive

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