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Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo

The baby is the size of a lima bean at birth

Order: Diprotodontia Prev. Marsupialia

Family: Macropodidae

Genus & Species: Dendrolagus goodfellowi


Goodfellow's tree kangaroo of New Guinea is very un-kangaroo-like in appearance. Like the rest of the tree kangaroo species, Goodfellow's tree kangaroo differs from ground kangaroos in many ways. The forelimbs and hindelimbs are almost of equal length and can move independently of one another. The hindefeet are broad and shorter than those of ground kangaroos. The forefeet are longer. The feet are padded with roughened skin and end in sharp curved claws that aid with climbing. The female has a pouch that holds the young. It opens forward and contains four teats. The head is rounded, as are the small ears, and the snout is well-defined. They eyes are small. Goodfellow's tree kangaroos lack opposable thumbs. Sexual dimorphism is present, with the males being slightly larger than the females. Males have a body length of 24.8-31.2 in (62-78 cm) and a tail length of 33.8 in (84.5 cm). Males weigh 16.87 lbs (7.5 kg). Females have a body length of 23.2 in (58 cm) and a tail length of 27.2 in (68 cm). Females weigh 16.65 lbs (7.4 kg).

Goodfellow's tree kangaroos vary in colour, but are generally chestnut brown - crimson red. The belly is pale, and the neck, cheeks, and feet are yellow. The face is greyish-brown. A double golden stripe runs down the back. The long, non-prehensile tail is generally the same colour as the body but is covered with pale rings or spots. The coat is short and soft, and the backhairs face a direction that allows water to run off easily.

Goodfellow's tree kangaroos are avid climbers. On the ground they take short hop-steps, the forelegs touching the ground first followed by the hindelegs.

They have a life span of over 14 years in captivity.


Goodfellow's tree kangaroos are found in Papua New Guinea. They are located in the tropical rainforests and tropical deciduous forests of the Foya Mountains in Northern Irian Jaya and of the Owen Stanley Ranges. They live at heights of 2267-9550 ft (680-2865 m) above sea level.

Goodfellow's tree kangaroos live solitary lives. Males have large territories that overlap several of the females' smaller territories. This tree kangaroo species is nocturnal.


Goodfellow's tree kangaroos feed mainly on the leaves of the Silkwood. They also feed on shoots, creepers, ferns, cereals, fruits, grasses, and flowers. The stomachs are large and sacculated and can hold much food. Like all herbivores, bacteria is present in a section of the stomach to digest the cellulose from the vegetation. Humans lack this bacteria and therefore cannot digest cellulose, also known as "fibre".


Goodfellow's tree kangaroos have few natural enemies. Humans sometimes hunt them for their meat, and others can be killed by dingos. The main threat to their survival is their dwindling habitat that is disappearing due to logging, mining, and agriculture. They are currently listed as a vulnerable species.


Sexual maturity is reached at 2 years of age. There is no defined breeding season. After a gestation period of 21-38 days, the mother licks clean her pouch and then takes up the birthing position: sitting on the base of her tail with the tail tip between her legs. One Joey is born. It is small, roughly the size of a lima bean. Once it has emerged from the birth canal, it instinctively climbs up to it mother's pouch, where it then grabs hold of a teat, and remains there for up to 8 months, sometimes staying for as long as 10 months. Even after it leaves the pouch, the Joey will often return to nurse for several months. It becomes fully independent after 11-13 months.


Goodfellow's tree kangaroo is related to the nine other species of tree kangaroos. There are at least 2 subspecies, D. g. shawmayeri and D. g. buergersi.


3. goodfellows_tree-kangaroo.htm
4. dendrolagus/d._goodfellowi
5. "Tree Kangaroo" Funk & Wagnall's Wildlife Encyclopedia, pg 2397, vol 20, 1974, USA, BPC Pub Ltd