What Are Arboreal Animals?

Arboreal animals are animals that live in trees, and they include monkeys, sloths and tree snakes. These animals usually adapt to living in treetops by forming specialized limbs, such as tails for balancing or grasping.

Sloths are one type of arboreal animal. They are especially adapted for living in treetops because of their curved claws, which hook over tree limbs and keep them in place as they hang from branches. They spend the majority of their lives in the treetops.

Squirrels are arboreal animals that have specialized ankle joints that enable them to run down tree trunks. Tree frogs and geckos have adhesive fingers and toes to keep them on trees. The arboreal salamander lives off of the insects it finds in the trees. It has a dark-colored, moist body with a lighter underside. Its toes and tail aid it in climbing high above the ground.

Many primates are arboreal animals. Most monkeys have prehensile tails that can grasp and hold onto limbs as they swing from branch to branch. They also enable some species of monkey to keep their balance while running along narrow tree limbs. The orangutan is the largest arboreal animal. It lives only in the trees of Sumatra and Borneo, although deforestation threatens its habitat.