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5 animals that choose to live on trees

Let’s discover 5 incredible animal species that spend most of their existence in trees.

Trees are some of the world’s most ancient living beings and make our existence possible. In fact, about 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods and trees – thanks to photosynthesis – are our best allies in reducing CO2 in the atmosphere. All green areas are inestimable hubs of biodiversity: they are home to 80 per cent of the planet’s plant and animal species. In ancient times, humans started develop their lives in forests, which nourished them and kept them far from predators. Here are some incredible animals that spend most of their existence on trees.

Tree-kangaroo

There are 14 species of tree-kangaroos that populate rainforests in Australia and New Guinea. These funny marsupials feed on leaves and spend most of their life on trees. However, they are threatened by illegal logging carried out to make space for plantations of coffee, rice and cereals and by hunting.

Canguro arboricolo di Bennett
Bennett’s tree-cangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus), in Queensland, Australia

Hoatzin

The hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is a bizarre, mainly arboreal bird with a debated taxonomic classification. These South American animals, characterised by a colourful crest of leathers, cannot fly long distances. Many believe the hoatzin has evolved independently from other modern birds, thus maintaining some primitive characteristics. The most evident one is the presence of claws on chicks’ wings, which remind those of the plumed dinosaur Archaeopteryx.

Hoazin
Hoatzins

Orangutan

The orangutan (Pongo abelii) is the world’s largest arboreal mammal. These peaceful primates live in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra and spend their days passing from one tree to another. They also build their nests on trees’ tops. Their love for trees is expressed by their own name, orang-untang, “man of the forests” in Malaysian.

Cucciolo di orango
Bornean orangutans represent 90% of orangutan population in the wild, while the remaing 10% is represented by the Sumatran orangutan

Chamaleon

Chamaleons are camouflage artists and are able to change their colour giving life to one of Mother Nature’s most surprising special effects. Most of chameleons live in Africa and Madagascar, while others are from Asia and some European areas. These animals mainly live on trees, where they hunt insects thanks to their powerful viscous tongue.

Camaleonte di Jackson
Il maschio di camaleonte di Jackson (Trioceros jacksonii) si riconosce per la presenza dei tre caratteristici corni sulla testa

Italian tree frog

The Italian tree frog (Hyla intermedia) is an unmistakable amphibian characterised by its bright-green colour and a dark line. This small frog endemic to Italy has perfectly adapted to arboreal life. Its sticky fingertips allow it to easily climb trees, shrubs and canes, while its colours allow camouflaging on leafy branches.

Raganella italiana
Italian tree frog
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