National Geographic : 1955 Oct
Tree-climbing 'Roos + Bed Down at Dawn Tree dwellers in the jungles of northern Queensland and New Guinea differ markedly from their land-bound cousins. Though still built for hop ping, the tree kangaroo's hind limbs are shorter and broader, the better for climbing. Its slender, brushy tail, though not prehensile like an opos sum's, serves as a rudder and balancing organ. Hind paws have nonskid soles cushioned with thick skin. Sharp curved claws on the large forepaws grasp swaying boughs. As an aerialist, the tree kan garoo travels monkeylike from tree to tree, often leaping downward 20 to 30 feet among the branches. It can jump to the ground without injury from heights of 40 feet or more. The creature sleeps by day with head tucked between hind legs. 495 - Not a Snarling Bear but a Gentle Marsupial Belying his name, the tree kangaroo spends much time on the ground. He ascends to feed on foliage and fruits, to sleep, or to escape enemies. Short rounded ears, unlike those of ground dwelling kangaroos, lack the ability to turn in several directions and detect the approach of predators. Backing down his tree, the arboreal kangaroo descends at sunset, usually to visit a water hole. Ungainly on the ground, he walks in short awkward hops. Zoo specimens have been ob served going backward. Males often fight in captivity. Aborigines on the Cape York Penin sula relish the flesh of the "boongary," as they call him. Hunting with trained dingoes, the natives' dogs, they track him to a treetop. There a hunter climbs after him, and the frightened kangaroo leaps to his doom among the dogs.