Do Male Kangaroos Have Pouches? (Solved)

Kangaroos are known for their cute young with their heads sticking out of the pouch. During my trip through Australia I could observe some kangaroos with joeys in the pouch. However, I was struck by the difference in physique between male and female kangaroos. Do male kangaroos have pouches?

Male kangaroos do not have pouches. All kangaroos are born without a pouch. The pouch develops only in female kangaroos in the first months after birth until weaning.

male eastern grey kangaroo
a huge male eastern grey kangaroo

Why don't male kangaroos have a pouch?

After mating, there is no special bond between males and females in most kangaroo species.

After birth, the newborn climbs independently from the birth canal into the mother's pouch (video). There, the newborn connects firmly with a teat for the first months of life. From this teat, the kangaroo joey gets milk with special nutrients to grow. Why do male kangaroos not have a pouch?

Male kangaroos cannot produce milk and have no teats. Therefore, they can not feed the newborn. Consequently male kangaroos do not need a pouch in which the young animal could stay.

When a young animal leaves the pouch for the first time it is already relatively independent and would have no significant advantages from a male pouch. A kangaroo leaves the mother's pouch for the first time when it is able to move on its own. This article describes how long kangaroo babies stay in the mother's pouch.

The young animals always stay close to the mother. So they can quickly hop into the pouch in case of danger and escape together with the mother.

A female kangaroo only gives birth to a young kangaroo when the pouch is no longer inhabited by a young animal. Therefore, only one kangaroo joey lives in the pouch at the same time.

However, a male kangaroo can mate with several females in a row but there is only room for one animal in the pouch. Which of these joeys would carry the male around?

Therefore, the care of the joeys is the mother's job alone. That is why male kangaroos do not have a pouch.

What body parts do male kangaroos have instead?

testicles eastern grey kangaroo
testicles (eastern grey kangaroo)

Male kangaroos do not have a pouch. This also means that there is no opening in the abdominal area.

In males, the testicles are instead visible from the outside. In addition to the body size of the animal, the easily identifiable testicles are an easy way to distinguish between males and females. Read this article to learn more about the reproductive tract in kangaroos.

Are there any male marsupials with pouches?

There are 320 species that are marsupials just like kangaroos. They are mainly found in Australia, America, and parts of Asia. Known marsupials are kangaroos, quokkas, wallabies, wallaroos, opossums, koalas, and Tasmanian devils.

Are kangaroos the only marsupials without pouches in males?

Kangaroos are no exception. Almost all other male marsupials also do not have a pouch.

In most marsupial species, only the females have a pouch. The reason for this is the same in all marsupials: The newborn is an underdeveloped fetus and needs the protection, warmth, and nourishment of its mother at the beginning of its life.

An exception is the water opossum. However, the pouch of the male water opossum is not as distinct as that of the female. In this species, the purpose of the pouch is to cover the testicles. Thus, the pouch of the male water opossum has nothing to do with the care of the young.

Conclusion: Male kangaroos do not have pouches

Male kangaroos do not have a pouch. Only female kangaroos have a pouch. Since kangaroos are born as a fetus, the pouch does not form in females until after birth.

Read this article to learn all about kangaroo pouches.