Thursday, August 28

Some Kangaroo facts for ya

I know this is strange, but I realized today while reading Is Your Mama a Llama? (which has a scene with a kangaroo) that I don't know much about how they use those pouches. So if you are interested, read on.

Kangaroos usually have one young annually. The young kangaroo, or joey, is born alive at a very immature stage, when it is only about 2 cm long and weighs less than a gram. Immediately after birth it crawls up the mother's body and enters the pouch. The baby attaches its mouth to one of four teats, which then enlarges to hold the young animal in place. After several weeks, the joey becomes more active and gradually spends more and more time outside the pouch, which it leaves completely between 7 and 10 months of age. Female kangaroos enter into heat within a few days after giving birth; they mate and conceive, but after only one week's development the microscopic embryo enters a dormant state that lasts until the previous young leaves the pouch. The development of the second embryo then resumes and proceeds to birth after a gestation period of about 30 days.

How ridiculous is that? I watched this video (a little gross but SO fascinating) of a kangaroo giving birth and it showed just how tiny that baby is. It really is still an embryo.

AND the fact that a kangaroo gets pregnant again right away and the embryo "pauses" until the other joey is finished with the pouch? Those kangaroos are some crazy creatures.


Rhiannon said...

Aren't they crazy! We took Ty to the zoo and saw them. One had a little Joey in her pouch and the zoo lady told us all about it, it is pretty amazing!

Nikki said...

Wow.. that is SO fascinating! Especially watching the embryo climbing up. Thanks for sharing!

Brittany said...

Wow! You would think that with all that constant breeding, there would be tons of Kangaroos everywhere!

Mandi said...

You know, they taste pretty good too. :)

The Ayers Family said...

There ARE tons of kangaroos everywhere!- in Australia! My little brother is there and says they exist as rodents. They make for pretty large road-kill too. They are everywhere in the city parks and even hop down residential streets where he is. They're still one of my favorite animals.