Nature is filled with many amazing creatures. In searching the canopy of the forest, animals of all sizes can be found climbing or jumping from branch to branch. Being arboreal, all of the animals listed below spend the majority of their time off the ground. Here are some of the cutest critters you will find in the treetops.
Wth bug eyes, big ears, spindly fingers and a long, hairless tail, the endangered tarsier looks more like something you’d expect to see from another planet, but you can find this adorable little primate on the islands of Southeast Asia. Measuring less than six inches long and weighing around six ounces, these nocturnal creatures have the unique distinction of being the only primate in the world whose diet is entirely carnivorous. Rather than climbing, tarsiers spend most of their life jumping from tree to tree using their powerful hind legs.
Another entry on our list of cutest tree dwellers is the aptly named slow loris. One look at its round face with large, sad eyes and you will see why this primate is so threatened by the illegal animal trade. The slow loris appears to wear a mask, as the fur that surrounds its eyes is very dark and thick. About the size of a small housecat, the nocturnal slow loris rarely sets foot on the ground, preferring the safety of the forest trees. As its name implies, the slow loris always appears to be in slow motion, as it has a very low metabolism. Their diet consists of insects, spiders, plants, flowers and tree sap.
There are approximately 10 species of tree kangaroos found in the tropical rainforest of Papua New Guinea and Australia. Resembling an oversized hamster in a thick, dark brown coat, these marsupials spend most of their time in trees foraging for flowers, bark, moss and leaves. Weighing between 15 and 20 pounds, the tree kangaroo has the ability to leap to the ground from heights of up to 60 feet without injuring itself.
One of the cutest monkeys found in the world is also the smallest. The pygmy marmoset is wrapped in a tiny fur coat that resembles a parka. It can only be found only in South America, weighs only four ounces and is approximately four to six inches in length. Having a small, delicate frame does have its advantages, as the pygmy marmoset is able to access food in areas of the treetops that are off limits to the heavier animals of the forest.
Many species of lemurs exist and all can be found just off the eastern coast of Africa on the isolated island of Madagascar. Perhaps the best known is the ring-tailed lemur, often seen in large groups jumping from tree to tree. Common characteristics of lemurs include long tails, large eyes and a thick coat of fur. This primate has long been referred to as the “Spirit of the Night” by locals due to its nocturnal habits. There is one unique member of the lemur family that many would say is so ugly, it’s cute: the aye-aye. This wild haired creature with large eyes and over-sized ears looks like something you would find in a nightmare. According to Madagascar locals, seeing this creature was thought to be bad luck unless it was immediately killed, thus helping it to land on the endangered species list.
The next time you’re out walking, take a moment to look upwards. You may not see animals as exquisite as those mentioned above, but the world is full of critters that are cute in their own way.