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Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo (Boongarry)

An endangered species

Order: Diprotodontia Prev. Marsupialia

Family: Macropodidae

Genus & Species: Dendrolagus lumholtzi


Lumholtz's tree kangaroo is a small arboreal kangaroo, one of two species found in Australia. They are about the size of a dog. Sexual dimorphism present, with the males being larger than the females. They grow to average lengths of 44.8-52 in (112-130 cm), including the tail, which is usually longer than the body. The tail is long, cylindrical, and tufted on the end. It is used as a counterbalance while climbing or hopping and is not prehensile. The hindefeet are small and broad and can move independently of each other, a feature not found in the ground kangaroos. Another difference between Lumholtz's tree kangaroos and the ground kangaroos (ex grey kangaroo) is the size of the limbs: the forelimbs are of almost equal length to the hindelimbs. The forelimbs are strong and muscular and end in small hand-like feet that lack opposable thumbs. Cushion-like pads covered with rough skin are located on the underside of the feet and aid in gripping the branches, as do their long curved nails.

The head is small and round with a large snout and small, rounded ears. The teeth are sharp and used for shearing, not grinding. Lumholtz's tree kangaroos vary in colour, but are generally brown or black. The back has lighter-coloured fur on the lower portion. The face and shoulders are darker brown, with a light brown band across the forehead and down the sides of the face. The first half of the tail is light brown, with the last half being a darker blackish-brown. Lumholtz's tree kangaroo is an efficient climber and can jump to the ground from heights of 66.7 ft (20 m) without sustaining any injury. On the ground they walk on all fours or run-hop on their hindefeet. In captivity they have only survived to their late teens.


Lumholtz's tree kangaroos are found only in the tropical rainforests of northern Queensland, Australia. They are found primarily in patches of rainforest in the Atherton Tablelands. They can be seen at Crater National Park, Malanda Falls Environmental Park, and the Curtain Fig Tree.

Lumholtz's tree kangaroos are solitary animals, sometimes congregating in groups of 4 to eat. They also get together to mate. They are nocturnal mammals and sleep on tree branches during the day.


Lumholtz's tree kangaroos have large, sacculated stomachs that allow large quantities of food to be ingested at any given time. It is not known exactly what they eat, although a large portion of their diet has been determined to be the leaves of the Silkwood. They are strictly herbivorous in nature and will also feed upon creepers, fruits, and maize grown at nearby farms.

Lumholtz's tree kangaroos spend 90% of their lives eating.


Lumholtz's tree kangaroos have few natural enemies. Indigenous tribesmen hunt them as a traditional source of food. They are also occasionally killed by dingos, domestic dogs, and parasites. They are clumsy and slow on land and so are often hit by cars. They are currently listed as endangered.

Lumholtz's tree kangaroos prefer forests growing in the basalt-rich Tableland soils, where farming is also ideal. Because of this, much of their homeland has been cleared for agriculture.


Lumholtz's tree kangaroos have no definite breeding season. The male selects the female by uttering soft clucking sounds while pawing her head and shoulders. If she leaves, he follows her, pawing her tail. After breeding and the long gestation period (for a marsupial) of roughly 38 days, the female takes up the birthing position: sitting on the base of her tail with the tail tip between her legs. The small, lima bean-sized baby emerges from the birth canal and climbs up to her pouch, grabbing hold of one of 4 teats, where is stays until fully developed.


There are ten species of tree kangaroos, 2 in Queensland and 8 in New Guinea. Of the 8 in New Guinea, they are further divided into 17 subspecies. Tree kangaroos are in the same family as ground kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, and pademelons.


6. "Tree Kangaroo" Funk & Wagnall's Wildlife Encyclopedia, pg 2397, vol 20, 1974, USA, BPC Pub Ltd