Since a tree kangaroo has an important role in my upcoming novel, Savage, as well as in my novels, Diffusion and Infusion, I thought I would expound upon this creature’s awesomeness. Yes, tree kangaroos are real! They live on the island of New Guinea, but also in very northern Australia and some of the Indonesian islands. Why are tree kangaroos so cool? Well, because they’re kangaroos—that live in trees! When Australian Aborigines and Papuan (New Guinea) natives told early European explorers about tree kangaroos, the explorers refused to believe the stories. You have to admit it seems pretty unlikely, right? These creatures eat, sleep, and breed in the treetops, but that doesn’t mean they live a comfortable existence. First of all, I imagine breeding in the treetops requires some caution (yikes!). Second, they seem to be a tasty meal for their primary predator, the amethystine python (which have a habit of hugging much too tightly). Third, natives hunt them for food (In New Guinea, "the man who has successfully hunted a tree-kangaroo has greatness bestowed upon him. He has conquered the largest, most prestigious and human-like marsupial known to his people." [Tim Flannery, from the awesome book, Throwim Way Leg]). And fourth, they depend on pristine rainforest, and if you haven’t heard, rainforests are getting smaller every day (a real bummer).
Some tree kangaroos are extremely rare and live in places so remote that they are unusually tame, as they have never learned to fear humans. The Papuan people of New Guinea have numerous ancient myths about tree kangaroos, some of which play a role in my novels.
There are about 14 different species, but this is one of very few types of large mammals with species still being discovered. Most tree kangaroos are about the size of a housecat. They are a fascinating example of divergent evolution (when groups of similar creatures become isolated and gradually diverge in form and function). Long ago, groups of ground-dwelling kangaroos became isolated in areas of dense tropical forest, as opposed to the open grasslands more typical for kangaroos. Once isolated in rainforest areas, they developed the ability to climb trees.
So, in summary, Tree Kangaroos are worthy of the BAHF, the “Budgeree Animal Hall of Fame.”
Budgeree is an Australian colloquialism that dates back to the 18th century, and derives from an Aboriginal language – it is loosely translated as “Awesome.”
10/1/2022 05:31:00 pm
Your Tree Kangaroo stuffy is one of the best I have seen. The face is perfect. I fell in love with them on a Zoo show last month and near to swooned. The face is amazing. I have a passion for endangered animals that no one mentions. The TK was added to the short list. Looking for a Mom stuffy or baby that looks like yours - would like smaller; my pangolins are crowding each other.I am delighted by this picture. I am in Los Angeles and our marsupial is the delightful, sweet opossum. And I am long time Platypus lover. Managed to raise few bucks with IFAW for the Wildfires you had. About my only act of crying any longer is for an animal. The ones in OZ are amazing. What a great photo - made my day. All the best. I do answer emails - so if you write I will reply. Your archives are far better than mine. I am redoing my old blog Voolavex.com. I like your format a lot.
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