Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Huon Tree Kangaroo

True Wild Life | Huon Tree Kangaroo | Huon Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei), also known as the Matschie's Tree Kangaroo is a tree kangaroo  native to the Huon Peninsula of North Eastern New Guinea. Under the IUCN classification, Huon Tree Kangaroo is endangered. With a body and head length of 20 to 32 inches, Huon Tree Kangaroo are much smaller than Australia's well-known red kangaroo. 

There is no particular season in which they breed. Gestation lasts 32 days and joeys of captive bred individuals leave the pouch after 13 ½ months. The average life span of the Huon Tree Kangaroo in the wild is unknown, but is at least 14 years. The life span of the kangaroo in a zoo is about 20 years. The Huon Tree Kangaroo can only be found on the Huon Peninsula on the northeast coast of Papua New Guinea. They live in forests that are usually foggy.Unlike other species of kangaroos, the Huon Tree Kangaroo spends most of its time living in trees. They even eat and sleep in trees.

The most distinctive trait of all tree kangaroos is the hair whorl they possess. It is a patch of hair that goes out in many directions and its location ranges from up near the shoulders all the way down to the tail. The Huon Tree Kangaroo is golden on its ventral side, lower parts of its limbs, ear edges, belly, and tail, and the rest of its body is a chestnut brown color, except for usually having a dark stripe down its back. Their faces are typically an array of yellow and white colors. The Huon Tree Kangaroos are similar in color and size to Dendrolagus dorianus, the Doria’s tree kangaroo. Huon Tree Kangaroos ears are small and bear-like looking and they do not have a good sense of hearing because of it. They have curved claws on their forelimbs and soft pads on their hind limbs that aid in their climbing ability, and they have some independent movement of their digits as well as good dexterity due to their forelimbs being able to bend a great deal.

The Huon Tree Kangaroo are mainly folivorous, eating anything from leaves, sap, insects, flowers, and nuts.  Since they eat high fiber foods, they only eat maybe about 1 to 2 hours throughout the day and the other time of the day they are resting and digesting their food. Their digestion is similar to that of the ruminants; they have a large, “tubiform forestomach”, where most of the fermentation and breakdown of tough material takes place at; in the hind stomach, there is a mucosa lining with many glands that help absorption begin here.

The Huon Tree Kangaroo lives only on the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea. Usually we think of kangaroos as animals that hop around grasslands. However, Huon Tree Kangaroos are an exception. They live in forests and are more adept at climbing trees than they are at moving on land. Today, as the population on the Huon Peninsula grows, more and more of the kangaroo's precious forests are being converted into farmland. Continued habitat loss is pushing the Huon Tree Kangaroo toward the brink of extinction.

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