Kangaroos are a kind of marsupial
(mar-SOO-pee-al). They are mammals because they
have fur and give milk. They are marsupials
because they have pouches where their babies live
after they are born. The babies need a pouch
because they are born very early, when they are
not really ready to be outside their mother.
Kangaroo babies are born when they are really
still embryos. They have no hair and their eyes
and ears are closed. Their back legs may not be
fully formed. Adult red kangaroos weigh 200
pounds. When the baby kangaroo is born, it is the
size of a bee and weighs about as much as a couple
of paper clips. Imagine a human baby being born
that small. It would need a lot of protection.
Kangaroo babies have to climb from the end of
the birth canal, up the mother’s fur, and into the
pouch. The mother licks a path along her fur for
the baby to follow. Once it is safely in the
pouch, it attaches to a nipple and may not let go
As it grows, the baby gets bigger and stronger.
Its eyes and ears open. It grows fur. When it is
ready, it will start to leave the pouch for longer
and longer times. It will still feed from a nipple
inside the pouch. If danger is around, it can jump
back into the pouch for its mother’s protection.
Different animals are born more or less ready
to go. Horses can stand and run almost as soon as
they are born. Wild horses live in open
grasslands where predators might attack them.
Puppies and kittens are born with fur, but their
eyes and ears are still closed. Wild members of
the cat and dog families give birth in dens
underground where they have some protection from
What might be some good or bad things about
an animal baby being born when it is already
big? Think about both the baby and the mother.
Can you think of a marsupial that lives in
the United States? Hint, they play dead when
they are attacked.
You might want to study animal biology.
Thanks for asking,