Friday, April 1, 2011

Matschie's Tree Kangaroo

Matschie's Tree Kangaroo
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Mammalia
Infraclass : Marsupialia
Order : Diprotodontia
Family : Macropodidae
Genus : Dendrolagus
Species : D. matschiei

Body Length : 30in (76cm)
Weight : 20lbs (9kg)

IUCN Status : Endangered

The Matschie's Tree Kangaroo (named after German zoologist Paul Matschie) is a herbivorous marsupial found only on New Guinea's Huon Penninsula. Not much is known about their behavior in the wild, but they are relatively common in captivity.

Mother and Joey
Matschie's Tree Kangaroos have a whole mess of adaptations that let them live the arboreal, rainforest lifestyle. They have large front limbs and padded feet that help them to climb. They also have enormously long tails that act as counter-balances. Furthermore, the Kangaroos have fur on their necks and backs that grows in an opposite direction from the rest of their body. They can then hunch over while it's raining and have all the water run right off, keeping them dry.

Like all marsupials, pouches play a major role in reproduction. The female Kangaroos has a gestation period of only 44 days, and she gives birth to a Joey that is only an inch long. The Joey climbs up and into the pouch where he will stay without leaving for about 8 months. He will return to the pouch off and on for a few more months after that, and will finally leave his mother a year and a half after being born.

Matschie's Tree Kangaroos are on a population decline due to habitat loss and hunting.

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