Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo Fact File
The goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is a slender bodied member of the tree kangaroo family. Across much of their body the wooly fur is reddish-brown. On the face and paws their fur is gold yellow. Running down the center of the body are a pair of gold stripes. The fur on the underside is pale.
They have broad feet to help with holding on to branches which is also aided by padding on the underside of the foot. Each toe ends with a curved claw that helps them to climb.
A long tail helps them to balance in the trees. This has a pattern of gold and reddish-brown rings which are unique to each individual. This tail can measure as much as 85cm (33.5in) long.
Males are slightly larger than females. An average goodfellow’s tree kangaroo will have a body length of 77cm (30in) long. On average they weigh 7.5kg (16.5lbs).
Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos are omnivores and they will feed on a range of leaves, flowers, grasses, fruits and insects.
Eggs and small birds have also been observed to be consumed on rare occasions.
New Guinea is the native home of the goodfellow’s tree kangaroo. Here they live solely in the Papua New Guinea portion of the island.
They make their home in montane tropical forests. Previously they occurred in areas of lowland forest but the populations in this area have gone extinct.
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Female tree kangaroos give birth to a single young at a time known as a joey. Four teats are present in the pouch though only one is used at a time. As a marsupial their joey is initially raised in the pouch.
Their gestation period is 45 days.
The mother will begin to clean her pouch a few hours before the birth. She then sits with the tail between the legs and the joey is born. Soon after the birth it will climb from the cloaca to the pouch with no assistance from the mother.
A joey will spend 10-12 months growing in the pouch where it attaches to a teat and suckles milk. Once they leave the pouch they will still return to the mother for a few months to drink milk. They will only suckle from the teat they attached to at birth. Young typically leave their mother at 18 months old.
Sexual maturity is reached at 2 years old for males and 4 years old for females.
In undisturbed areas they have a crepuscular activity pattern emerging at dawn and dusk to feed. Where they live close to human habitations they tend to exhibit a nocturnal activity pattern.
Both males and females establish a territory. A males territory will be larger than the females so that it covers that of multiple females.
Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos are primarily solitary spending their time alone.
They are primarily arboreal and spend their time in the trees. They are adapted for climbing and unable to complete the standard hop of other kangaroos. Unlike ground dwelling kangaroos they are able to move their hind feet independently.
On the ground they shuffle along with a hopping step in which the hind and forelegs alternate touching the ground. They will hold their tail up while hopping across the ground.
In the trees they can jump up to 9m (29.5ft) between trees and they can jump up to 18m (59ft) from a tree to the ground.
Up to 60% of their day is spent sleeping. They will choose a branch in which to sleep with no nest being built.
Predators and Threats
Few natural predators of the goodfellow’s tree kangaroo exist.
Humans have a severe effect on the population of goodfellow’s tree kangaroos. Habitat destruction has already removed them from lowland areas. It is placing increasing pressure on those at higher elevations mainly through habitat fragmentation.
They are also hunted in large numbers mainly for their coat and meat. These animals are unable to support high levels of hunting due to the length of the gap between joeys.
The goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is also known as the ornate tree kangaroo.
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