The Tree Kangaroo in the Atherton Tablelands

We 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 very different from 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. Tree kangaroos are great climbers but are rather awful at getting down from trees. As such, they are much more comfortable in higher altitudes.

Tree Kangaroo in Queensland

There are two 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 quite rare and their population grows slowly as it is rare for them to have more than one joey at a time.

When to see them

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 are most commonly spotted in the Crater National Park but have been seen in the Atherton Tablelands on occasion.

Tree kangaroos have a similar day to day life as a koala. They sit up in their trees majority of the day, resting. They make little movement to eat, drink, and clean themselves. Tree kangaroos only spend 10% of their time moving around, they spend they spend the rest of their days sleeping.

This funny looking creature only lives in one part of the country meaning like many things in Australia, they can only seen by those who take the time to seek out adventure.

If you’d like to try and spot one of these elusive animals, join our Atherton Tablelands Tour! We’ve had success finding tree kangaroo on the tour before and with your help, we might be able to find them once again!

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