matschies tree kangarooScientific Name– Dendrolagus matschiei

Conservation Status– Endangered

Appearance

The matschies tree kangaroo weighs an average of 7.5kg for females and 6kg for males. They have a body which measures 66cm for males and 63cm for females. The tail doubles the length of the body. The tail is used for balance in the trees.

The body is chestnut brown with a black stripe running the length of their back. The lower portions of their limbs, the underbelly, the face and the tail are golden in colour. The nose is pink.

Lifespan                                                                                  

The mastchies tree kangaroo is estimated to reach at least 14 years old in the wild. In zoos they can reach up to 20 years of age.

Diet

The matschies tree kangaroo is a herbivore. They live on a diet primarily consisting of leaves. They will also eat flowers, saps, fruit, insects, flowers and nuts.

In captivity this species has been fed some meat which they have eaten. Currently this is not considered to be part of their natural diet. They also have been noticed to lose coat condition in captivity. This is fixed by feeding them tea leaves or maize.

Habitat

The matschies tree kangaroo is only found on the Huon peninsula in Papua New Guinea and Umboi a nearby island.

They live in tropical deciduous forest and tropical rainforests. They maintain a home range which covers 25 hectares.

Reproduction

Matschies tree kangaroos have no set breeding season. The female will initiate contact by coming down to the male and touching his nose as well as clicking their tongues. She will avoid his advances to begin with but will then become receptive. After she submits they can mate for up to an hour.

The gestation period is 44 days which is the longest of any marsupial. A single young is born pink and hairless which crawls up into the pouch to attach to one of the four teats. They will spend the next 3 months attached to the nipple. After about 6 months they will stick the head out of the pouch. By 7 months they take their first outing and by 10 months they are living outside of the pouch permanently.

These tree kangaroos reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age.

Behaviour

The tree kangaroo will spend the majority of its day sleeping as they can gain most of the energy they need in a couple of hours of foraging.

These tree kangaroos do not sweat. Instead they will lick their arms and allow the moisture to evaporate which cools their body.

The matschies tree kangaroo can jump to the floor from a height of 10m and can leap 9m between trees.

Quick facts

These kangaroos are named after the person who discovered them-the German biologist, Paul Matschie.

Unlike other kangaroos they have forearms and back legs which are the same length.