High within the treetops of the rainforest of New Guinea, as well as the northernmost part of Queensland in Australia, lives an elusive and remarkable creature – the tree-kangaroo. There is only a dozen of species in their family and all of them are extremely rare and hard to find. On one hand, because of the clearing of many forest areas, their habitat is constantly decreasing and sadly today all of them are endangered. But that is not the only reason. Whenever they are on the ground, they are slow and clumsy, but in the trees they are very agile and move really quickly, which has earned them the name “the ghosts of the forest” by the local population.
They are very closely related to their cousins, the Australian kangaroos, but at some point in their evolutionary history their ancestors took to the trees, a role to which as it turns out, they are incredibly well suited. Between a half and one meter in size, depending on the species, they are relatively small animals compared to their terrestrial cousins. Like all kangaroos they are equipped with a long tail that helps them keep their balance, but they also have large, strong claws for climbing and gripping. They spend almost all their time in the trees, a big portion of which they use for sleeping.
Tree-kangaroos are solitary animals, preferring to live alone and would often ignore each other, unless it is the mating season. It appears that the link between the mother and her offspring is the only social bond these animals develop. Being a marsupial, the females carry the joey in their pouch for several months, until it has grown up and ready to live on its own.
Like all kangaroos, the tree-kangaroos are expert jumpers and have developed the ability to jump down from incredible heights. Some of them have been observed to jump down from trees and remain unharmed from as high as 20 meters.
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