Tree-rific Creatures: Animals That Live In Trees And Why

Anusuya Mukherjee
Oct 19, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Nov 15, 2021
There are many animals that are tree dwelling
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.1 Min

Some animals live underground, some animals live in water, some animals live on land, and some animals live in trees!

There are many animals that are tree-dwelling. Some animals that live in trees are tree kangaroos, birds, squirrels, koalas, flying foxes, and primates like orangutans and chimps.

Forests and jungles are environments covered with dense vegetation like tall trees, thick shrubs, and plant matter. As a result, they are home to all sorts of creatures, from the tiniest insects to the largest mammals, and make up a large portion of the world's biodiversity.

Trees provide such species with shelter, food, a reproduction site as well as other necessities that they might not find on the ground.

They are even used by many predatory and nocturnal animals that live in trees and use them for hunting prey. Scientists through intensive research have claimed that there are about 2.3 million species alone in the world that live among the trees.

Humans can also live in trees by building an elaborate version, a treehouse! These humans prefer living exclusively with their own community away from an integrated group and have their own traditional lifestyles, occupations, cultures, laws, and food habits. The Korowai tribe of the Indonesian Papua New Guinea region is one such social group whose members live in treehouses.

Serving as a habitat for many species, living and moving in trees is not easy. This is why arboreal animals have specific physical characteristics that make life on trees easy.

Some of these physical characteristics are long tails which are prehensile, sharp and elongated claws, long limbs, and feet that adapted in a way that helps them grasp onto the branch of a tree.

Some species are also known to have sticky toes that stick to the branches or trunks of trees! This can be understood much more clearly by looking at how certain arboreal animal species live their lives in forest habitats.

The tropical and rainforests of North, Central, and South America consist of a lot of animals that live in trees. For instance, sloths live in trees because they provide them with a habitat that shelters them from predators.

Sloths, being some of the slowest moving animals on earth, can hang on the branches of trees with ease because of their long, sharp, and curved claws which gives them a great grip even when they hang upside down from a branch.

Squirrels have a similar adaptation because they build their nests in the canopy of a tree or on a treetop.

Their feet consist of small claws that allow them to run along deftly on tree barks and branches without falling off. The tree-kangaroo species found predominantly in Queensland, Australia, has a long tail that gives them balance when they move among the trees.

Monkeys and primates like chimpanzees and orangutans found in the forests of Sumatra and Borneo have long tails that assist them when they are climbing on trees or swinging from branch to branch.

Many snakes also use tree holes to cool off on a hot day or simply as shelter. Even every bird species, no matter how rare or common, use trees to get shade from the heat of the sun, to make nests to lay eggs, or to search for insects as food from tree bark.

The uses of trees for animals are unlimited and they serve countless purposes for every living creature in this world.

There is no being that does not use the varied benefits of trees! In current times, humans have destroyed a lot of trees for their own personal gains, creating a loss of habitat for many species, eventually leading to a downfall in their numbers too.

Therefore, it is essential to understand and learn the importance of trees in our lives and take initiatives to safeguard and protect the natural environment surrounding us as it is our primary responsibility.

If you enjoyed this article on animals that live in trees, check out our other articles on animals that live in the jungle or animals that live in the forest that is sure to keep you hooked!

What kinds of animals live in trees?

Trees are habitats for about 70% of all animals in the world. They provide them with shelter, food, and protection from dangerous elements in the environment and other important things that they might not find when they are on the ground.

It is very essential for their survival. Called arboreal animals, they have several adapted features that make it easy for them to live as well as move on a tree.

Long and prehensile tails, sharp claws, and elongated limbs are some of these features that allow various kinds of animals to spend their lives on trees easily. There are a wide variety of animals that live in trees. They can be massive or tiny, predatory or prey.

Tree kangaroos are one such kind of animal. These arboreal species are the largest tree-dwelling mammals in Australia.

Unlike normal kangaroos that can't use their back legs that efficiently, these kangaroos that used to make their home on trees can move their back legs very well.

This provides them with stability when in movement.

Kinkajous, which exist in the canopy of the rainforests of Central and South America, are also arboreal or tree-dwelling animals that have a long furry tail that helps in giving them balance and warming them up when the weather gets cold.

Amphibians like tree frogs and flying lizards also live in habitats like trees and have sticky toe pads under their feet that enable them to stay on the branch of a tree without slipping or losing their balance as their small size can cause them to fall off the tree easily.

Slow-moving sloths that are found in the forests of Australia have curved and sharp claws that allow them to easily grasp the branches of trees. At times, crocodiles can also climb trees to cool themselves and regulate their body temperature.

An orangutan is the largest arboreal mammal that lives in a tree and it mostly spends its time in a tree getting the water it needs.

Why do animals live in trees?

Every forest habitat has animals that live in trees for meeting their essential and vital survival needs. The needs that come from trees are different and unique to each animal.

It provides one with nourishment sources, one with shelter, one with a place to reproduce, and one with protection from predators or threats. Monkeys use trees to stay away from large predators, swinging from branch to branch with their tails and also to find food.

Every bird species, whether flying or not, utilize trees to build their nests so that they can lay eggs. Various parts of the tree are also used to build their nests like leaves, twigs, and small branches.

Squirrels bury or hide nuts and acorns they find in the holes of trees.

Scientists and animal experts see them as accidental tree growers as they forget where they hide the seeds and nuts that they collect which leads to many trees growing.

Although the tree kangaroo now spends most of its time on the ground, it used to spend a majority of its life on trees as leaves are its primary food source.

Therefore, the reasons why animals live in trees are endless as the benefits that come from trees are many.

Squirrels bury or hide nuts and acorns

How many different animals live in trees?

Every animal in the world, whether they live in a forest or not, depends on trees to meet some sort of its need. The types of animals that live in trees will surprise you!

They range from large mammals to small marsupials, to tiny insects. Even certain amphibians like frogs and flying lizards spend a good part of their time on trees.

Bark beetles and carpenter ants live under the bark of a tree but these tiny creatures may serve as a food source for some birds and other animals. The fruits of a tree are also used as food by many types and kinds of monkeys.

Crocodiles lie on a straight bark of a tree when they sunbathe or try to cool their bodies.

Raccoons, mice, panthers, lemurs, chameleons, green tree pythons, bats, leopards, and cheetahs are all found on trees. Some animals may just use trees solely for the purpose of resting!

What are animals that live in trees called?

Forests not only act as a breathing system for this world but also sustain a lot of animals and birds. Animals that live in trees are called arboreal animals.

They have some unique adaptations that make it easy for them to exist in their leafy and forest environments like elongated limbs, tails that are long, claws that are curved, long, and sharp.

Arboreal animals make their homes in trees as they give them shelter from extreme weather, food for survival, and protection from dangerous threats and predators. You will often notice that the canopy of a forest is where most arboreal animals are found, as a safe haven from the world below.

There are also tree-dwelling insects that feed on the bark of a tree like termites and bark beetles!

Animals That Live In Trees With Tails

Some tree-dwelling animals with tails are lemurs, monkeys, gibbons, tree kangaroos, squirrels, chameleons, kinkajous, and geckos.

The tails make it easy for these animals to stay on a tree without falling and provides stability or balance when they are in movement. It also helps them swing between tree branches as they go in search of what they need and assists them with a variety of other tasks too!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for animals that live in trees then why not take a look at animals that live underground, or are trees plants that you are sure to love!

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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