I guess I wasn’t able to convince anyone to appreciate the earwig last week. Personally, I still think they are pretty cool but what can I say, I am a Wildlife Biologist, so I like all animals. I feel bad that I ended the week with such an “icky” Wild Fact so I thought I would make it up to all of you today with a cute, fuzzy animal. There is something seriously wrong with you if you don’t like the Tree Kangaroo!!
As you can imagine the tree kangaroo is a relative of the regular kangaroo but it prefers to live in trees. They can be found in the rain forests of New Guinea and Northeastern Queensland. The tree kangaroo is similar to a turtle. No, I don’t mean genetically! I mean in the sense that they are awkward, slow and clumsy on land but the minute you put them into their preferred environment (i.e. trees) they become nimble, agile and swift. I am pretty impressed that I was just able to make a comparison between a kangaroo and a turtle!
So how did these kangaroos get to the trees? It is believed they evolved from animals similar to kangaroos and wallabies since they have retained the large legs. In order to survive in the trees though, they developed strong fore-limbs for climbing and incredibly long tails for balance. Unlike, kangaroos which have long, narrow feet, which allow them to move quickly on the plains, the tree kangaroo has shorter and wider feet used for climbing. These feet are even more adapted for life in the trees with their long claws and rubber soles. Yes, they have rubbery soled feet which obviously provides them with better grip. It is like they carry that anti-slip bathtub mat with them at all times!
If you have a bit of time then I recommend checking out the following video from National Geographic. It explains how researchers are using “Critter Cams” to learn more about these mysterious animals.
So there is your cute and cuddly fact to start the week. Have a good one!