31 Animals that Climb Trees (A to Z List & Pictures)

Animals that Climb Trees

Examples of animals that climb trees include baboons, lizards, pandas, badgers, and cougars.

There are many animals that climb trees for various reasons. Some to find food, some to escape predators, and others simply because they can.

These examples also include several types of reptiles, amphibians, and even crabs. Many animals use their claws to grip onto bark as they walk from branch to branch or scale the trunk vertically.

Examples of Animals that Climb Trees

Here is a list of 31 animals that use tree-climbing abilities:

1. Aye-aye

Scientific NameDaubentonia madagascariensis
Type of AnimalMammal

The aye-aye is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. It lives in Madagascar and has large, bat-like ears and dark eyes set into deep sockets.

A long middle finger on each hand helps it find food such as grubs or nuts hidden under the bark. When both hands are used together they can tear off a tree’s bark and find the bugs within.

2. Baboons

Scientific NamePapio
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangewestern equatorial Africa

Baboons are known for their unique way of climbing trees. They can even use their tails to assist them in reaching items that might be hard to reach otherwise.

Amazingly, baboons have been observed carrying infants up and down trees with ease. This is especially impressive given how large the babies get over time!

Related Article: Are Baboons Leaders?

3. Badgers

Scientific NameMeles meles
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America

Badgers are well known for their climbing abilities. They can climb up and down trees head first, using the claws on their feet to grip bark like a human would use fingers.

Badgers often live in holes dug into the ground but will sometimes make dens high up in hollowed-out trees. This way they might be able to escape predators easier.

4. Bengal Tigers

Scientific NamePanthera tigris tigris
Type of AnimalMammal

Tigers climb trees to find food. Their claws are excellent for climbing and their long tails help them balance on tree branches.

Tigers can climb trees because their front claws are hooked into the bark. When they want to descend, tigers use their tails as a counterbalance and back down the tree trunk bum first.

5. Chimpanzee

Scientific NamePan troglodytes
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCentral and West Africa

Chimpanzees are closely related to humans, with DNA that is only about 1.2% different.

This makes them even more fascinating. They have been observed climbing trees in order to collect fruit for later consumption and they also use the high vantage point of the treetops as watchtowers when predators are nearby.

6. Cougars

Scientific NamePuma concolor
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCanada south to Patagonia

Cougars climb trees to find prey. They are very agile and can easily scale branches with their sharp claws, even in the dark.

Their ability to do this is also attributed to the keen eyesight that they use while doing reconnaissance missions on top of tree branches. Cougars primarily eat deer but will not hesitate at all when it comes to chasing other animals that may be hiding in trees.

They are also great at balancing on narrow branches, which is typically necessary to catch their prey.

7. Dingoes

Scientific NameCanis lupus dingo
Type of AnimalMammal

Dingoes can climb trees because they have sharp claws and muscular hind legs. They also use their tails to help them balance while climbing.

Their flexible spines make it possible for the Dingoes to move around in tight spaces, such as during a tree climb. These traits allow the dingo to clamber up even steep slopes with ease.

8. Eastern Fence Lizard

Scientific NameSceloporus undulatus
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeNew York south to northern Florida

A lizard climbs a tree by using its sharp claws. The claws of the gecko are equipped with tiny hairs that allow it to climb up surfaces without slipping.

Many lizards use their tails as an extra limb for climbing, and some can even cling upside down on glass.

9. Fox

Scientific NameVulpes vulpes
Type of AnimalMammal

Foxes are very agile animals that can climb trees easily. They have sharp claws and great balance which allows them to be able to climb very high trees.

10. Grizzly Bear

Scientific NameUrsus arctos horribilis
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America, Europe, and Asia

Grizzly bears are excellent climbers and will climb to feed, rest or escape danger. They have been seen climbing tall trees up to around 20 feet high.

11. Gorillas

Scientific NameGorilla
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangeequatorial Africa

These large primates are known for their tree-climbing abilities. They will climb trees to eat leaves, fruit, and even honey.

Gorillas have been observed spending a lot of time in trees which is interesting because they are primarily ground animals, not tree-climbing ones.

12. Gecko

Scientific NameGekkonidae
Type of AnimalReptile

One of the most common animals that climb trees is geckos. This is because they have sticky footpads on their feet to help them climb up different surfaces, including tree bark.

Geckos are found in tropical climates where there are many types of vegetation for them to climb upon. Some examples include The Common House Gecko and the Mediterranean House Gecko.

13. Hercules Beetle

Scientific NameDynastes hercules
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangesouthern Mexico south to Bolivia

Insects, such as the Hercules Beetle are extremely strong which is why they can climb trees.

Combined with their large size and massive claws that keep them attached to a tree while climbing, these animals are definitely among some of the most impressive climbers in the world.

14. Hedgehogs

Scientific NameErinaceinae
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeEurope, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand

Although hedgehogs spend the majority of their time on the ground, they are capable swimmers and tree climbers.

15. Hermit Crabs

Scientific NamePaguroidea
Type of AnimalMalacostracans
RangeTropical areas of the Indo-Pacific region

Hermit crabs enjoy climbing and hiding. Because they spend a lot of time up in the trees, especially during mating season, some of the islands’ inhabitants have dubbed them Tree Crabs.

They also instinctively climb when the barometric pressure drops and rain is imminent.

Read Also: Do Dwarf Red Tip Hermit Crab Eat Algae?

16. Howler Monkeys

Scientific NameAlouatta
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeBrazil, Paraguay, eastern Bolivia

They use their long, prehensile tails to grab hold of branches and pull themselves up into the trees. Their tails are strong enough to support the entire weight of their body.

17. Hissing Cockroach

Scientific NameGromphadorhina portentosa
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeisland of Madagascar

Hissing Cockroach climb trees to find food. They are nocturnal, so they need the darkness of night when climbing up trees in order to forage without being seen.

18. Jaguarundi

Scientific NamePuma yagouaroundi
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeUnites States

Jaguarundis are very agile and strong swimmers, but they aren’t the best climbers. They use trees to escape from predators like wild dogs or larger cats.

If a Jaguarundi does climb a tree it will do so by slowly scooting up with its claws while using all four legs at once.

19. Kinkajou

Scientific NamePotos flavus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCentral and South America

An animal that climbs trees for food is the kinkajou. The Kinkajou has very strong claws and teeth that allow it to climb up tree branches in search of figs, fruit, or nectar.

They are also able to hang upside down from their tails.

20. Koalas

Scientific NamePhascolarctos cinereus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeEastern Australia

These Australian mammals have been seen climbing trees solely for the sake of resting.

They sleep for up to 18 hours a day which is one reason why they like staying high off the ground. These animals also use their strong arms and claws to grip onto tree branches and climb upwards.

21. Lynx

Scientific NameLynx
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeEurope, Asia, and North America

Lynx climb trees in order to gain a vantage point from which they can survey their territory. They are also able to chase prey up into the tree before leaping down and pouncing on it.

In addition, lynxes often sleep in trees while waiting for prey or when recovering from previous hunts.

22. Lizards

Scientific NameLacertilia
Type of AnimalReptile

Lizards climb trees by using claws and the spikes on their toes to grip onto the bark. They also use muscles in their tail which help them move up tree trunks. Many lizards are arboreal, meaning they live mostly or partly in trees.

Some examples of these types of Lizards include chameleons, anoles, and geckos.

23. Langur

Scientific NameSemnopithecus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWestern Assam

Langur monkeys are known to have some of the best tree-climbing abilities in existence. They are able to climb up sheer cliffs, jump from branch to branch at extreme heights, and can even suspend themselves upside down.

Their tails help them stay balanced while they move through trees which is why it’s also important for their survival.

When predators are near, they can use their tails to hang themselves upside down which will make it difficult for the predator to catch them.

24. Marten

Scientific NameMartes
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCanada and Alaska

Martens are small, carnivorous mammals that live in the forest. They use their sharp claws and paws to climb trees and grab prey such as squirrels.

25. Mandrill

Scientific NameMandrillus sphinx
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangewest-central Africa

Mandrill is able to climb trees thanks to their long claws and strong arms. They use them for reaching fruits that can’t be reached from the ground, as well as to escape predators or intruders. This is why Mandrills spend about 50% of their time in trees.

26. Olingo

Scientific NameOlingo
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCentral and northern South America

Olingos are a species of tree-dwelling mammal found in South America. They have sharp claws to help them scale the trees and long tails that let them hang from branches.

The Olingo also has semi-retractable claws which give it an advantage when climbing or descending, especially at night.

27. Orangutans

Scientific NamePongo
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeSoutheast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra

These primates have been known to sleep in trees and also use them to escape predators like tigers or humans who might want to harm them.

They can move easily between different tree branches by wrapping their arms around the trunk and using momentum in order to swing to the next branch.

28. Panda

Scientific NameAiluropoda melanoleuca
Type of AnimalMammal

Panda’s are great climbers, able to climb up tree trunks and leap from branch to branch. They often sleep in trees next to their food source.

29. Puma

Scientific NamePuma concolor
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth and South America

Pumas are also known as cougars, mountain lions, and panthers. They’re native to North America but can be found in South American countries like Argentina and Chile too.

Pumas use their strong claws to climb trees by digging them into tree bark for grip.

30. Red Eyed Tree Frog

Scientific NameAgalychnis callidryas
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeMexico south throughout Central America

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are arboreal, which means they spend their time in trees. They can leap long distances to catch prey and escape predators.

Their fingers and toes have adhesive pads that allow them to stick (or climb) up the sides of tree trunks or other surfaces like walls.

31. Raccoons

Scientific NameProcyon lotor
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCentral and North America

These animals have been observed climbing trees in order to find food like birds eggs or insects, but also to hide from predators such as owls which might want to eat them for dinner.

Raccoon mothers will carry their young ones up into the high branches when they are in danger in order to keep them safe.

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