In search of the elusive tree kangaroo

Tree kangaroo

Tree kangaroo


A few years ago I caught a glimpse of this tree kangaroo at Fleays Wildlife Sanctuary on the Goldcoast. I only managed to catch a quick, rather blurred shot of him before he disappeared back into his pen.  They are elusive and secretive creatures and are on the endangered species list. One of the last remaining habitats for them is in the rainforest that surrounds Malanda, my house sitting home. So last weekend we went on a mission to see if we could spot one. They come out to feed in the late afternoon so we wandered slowly through the rainforest with necks craned searching the canopy for signs of a dangling tail.

They are strange creatures related to both the kangaroo and the possum. Their tail is only used for balance and unlike other tree dwellers it cannot wrap around branches. They are the closest Australia has to a monkey.

“The ancestor of the kangaroos and their kind was possum-like  and descended from the trees to spawn a large and diverse fauna of browsers and  grazers. Curiously one group the Tree-kangaroos ascended the trees again to  exploit the large foliovore (leaf-eating) niche in the tropics of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) occupied by primates like Proboscis Monkeys in nearby Indonesia. Thus the Tree-kangaroos are in many respects the closest animals we have to monkeys in the Australo-Papuan region. Unfortunately for Tree-kangaroos their meat is  tasty (hence the genus Dendrolagus or tree-hare given by the Dutch) and hunting along with habitat destruction and climate change are significant threats. Thus the majority of species are threatened or vulnerable under IUCN Red List classification” For more information click here.

Needless to say we did not see one but had a pleasant walk/stroll/wander through the rainforest.

Late afternoon searching for the tree kangaroo

Late afternoon searching for the tree kangaroo

Malanda rainforest gazing into the canopy

Malanda rainforest gazing into the canopy


Malanda rainforest

Malanda rainforest

Malanda rainforest

Malanda rainforest

There are a couple of other places near here that these strange creatures hang out. So we will try again to spot them.

We have 5 more weeks left before the home owners come back. How quickly the time has passed




Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, Malanda, photos, tree kangaroo | Tags: , , , , | 31 Comments

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31 thoughts on “In search of the elusive tree kangaroo

  1. Such gorgeous photos and ecosystem! I have never heard of this type of kangaroo. Fascinating……hope you get some shots and your next foray! Cheers to you and Jack~


  2. That’s a cool picture of the animals but you didn’t take it, right?


  3. what a lovely shot, have never seen one before


  4. Lovely pictures, especially that last picture. Interesting twists and turns of the bark.


  5. Sonel

    These are just amazing shots Gypsy. I just love the shot of the tree kangaroos. They are absolutely gorgeous! I would love to walk there in the rainforest as well. It’s so beautiful there. Thanks for the lovely tour and can’t wait to see what’s next. 😀 *hugs*


  6. What beautiful red coats they have. This looks like the perfect hiding place for them. 🙂


  7. Nice try! 🙂


  8. poppytump

    SO many trees for them to hide in PP .. bet they were there somewhere peeking at you both 😉
    They are lovely looking creatures with their short fur coats and long tails.


    • I’m sure they were watching us Poppy. If I do see one I will be so excited the photo will be only a dark blob. I’ll have to put an arrow on the photo, ,x marks the spot… 🙂


      • poppytump

        Oh like a ‘spot the ball’ competition Lolol … do you remember those years ago PP ??


        • No I don’t remember. Was it a UK thing? Maybe I was in NZ at the time and they were years behind back then. Or maybe I’m having a senior moment….


          • poppytump

            A picture of a football match would have the ball blanked out and you had to put a cross as to where you thought it was,money prize for the winner.
            I imagine it was all to do with angle of shot and the footballer’s kicking legs … can you picture the arguments and heated discussions by know it alls LOL


  9. Bonjour Mme Gypsy

    Love this post with great pictures too – coincidentally we watched a documentary about Koalas and how a number of volunteers and a local vet keep the population healthy and spread evenly in the eucalyptus. Fascinating stuff just like the tree kangeroo – they need to be protected.




    • G’day Dan, it is quite a sad story about our loveable koalas the could become an endangered species due to habitat loss and disease. Another sad fact is Australia has lost more species than any other country.


  10. I enjoyed hearing about your adventure, thank you. I saw one once in 2010, only because I was with a guide (Jonathon Munro) who knew the exact place to find one. While observing we were wedged between a fence and a tree trunk, there were loads of eucalyptus leaves between ourselves and the kangaroo, and we had to remain completely silent. ha. But it was worth it! I hope you get to see one.


    • Lucky you, did any ticks find you??? we are planning to go with an aboriginal guide on a walk through the rainforest I’m sure they will have more idea exactly where to look.


      • No ticks, but plenty of mosquitoes and even a leech in the Aus. rainforest. So glad you’re going with a guide. Have a great time! What a wonderful place in the world to be!


  11. Those roots on those trees are amazing, pretty old I’m guessing.


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