8 Facts About Kangaroo Pouches You Probably Didn't Know

kangaroo family with mother and joey at Lucky Bay, WA

Most people know that kangaroos have a pouch. But you will be surprised to see these 8 facts about kangaroo pouches you probably did not know. For example, did you know that young kangaroos are not born in their mother’s pouch? Kangaroos are incredible creatures, they climb being blind, hairless, and tiny as a jellybean into their mother’s pouch. 

But let’s start with the basics. 

Why Kangaroos Need A Pouch

Kangaroos need a pouch for reproduction. Although kangaroos are not born in the pouch, they still need the pouch to raise their young. A kangaroo’s pouch is the home of their young for the first few months of their lives. It is the place where the young are kept warm and get the food they need to develop into a grown-up adult. 

Even when their young left the pouch, they continue to drink milk for a few months. They just pop their heads back into the pouch and suckle milk whenever they like. 

Baby Kangaroos Make A Mess In The Pouch

Young kangaroos live in the pouch for their first few months after birth. 

Do Baby Kangaroos Poop In The Pouch? Baby kangaroos do poop in the pouch. They also pee in the pouch because they cannot go anywhere else in the first few months of their lives. When young kangaroos are a few months old the begin to leave the pouch from time to time. But they continue to go back to the pouch but that brings in even more dirt, for example, when the kangaroo played in the dirt or hoped on the beach. 

Why Do Kangaroos Clean Their Pouch?

The pouch is an almost entirely enclosed area where dirt collects easily. Dirt can’t fall out of the pouch because the pouch is only opened upward. Kangaroos aren’t the only animals that have pouches where they raise their young. Other animals with pouches may have the opening to the rear, for example, if they are digging in the dirt and that would fill up the pouch. 

A kangaroo’s pouch opens upward but dirt comes still into it. The pouch is also the place where kangaroos raise their joeys. What is a joey? Read this article to learn what a joey is and see what it looks like - it’s cute!. 

Joeys poop and pee into the pouch and that means mother kangaroo has to clean the pouch regularly. The mother also cleans the pouch the day the new joey is born. Joeys not only poop and pee into the pouch but when they get older they bring in the dirt when they move in and out of the pouch. Kangaroos start to leave the pouch at 8 months old to explore the world but they continue to go back into the pouch for a few months. 

How Do Kangaroos Clean Their Pouch?

I’ve just described why baby kangaroos make a real mess in their mother’s pouch. They live in it and also pee and poo in their first home. 

To avoid a complete mess the joey’s mother cleans the pouch from time to time. 

So how does a kangaroo clean the pouch? A female kangaroo cleans her pouch by licking it out. She puts her long snout into the pouch and simply licks it out. A female kangaroo can easily clean around a joey which is still attached to a teat in the pouch. 

It’s that simple. 

Only female kangaroos have a pouch

Do female kangaroos have a pouch? Female kangaroos have a pouch that is permanent. 

This is the place where female kangaroos raise their young after giving birth. 

Are female kangaroos born with a pouch? Female kangaroos are not born with a pouch, the pouch develops when the female kangaroo grows up. When a young kangaroo is born, it is an extremely undeveloped fetus called joey. It is blind, hairless, and the size of a jellybean. You can barely imagine it’s a kangaroo when you look at it. The pouch then develops over time until the female kangaroo becomes an adult in mating age. 

Do Male Kangaroos Have A Pouch?

A male kangaroo hasn’t got a pouch. He can’t produce milk so there is no need to have a pouch because he couldn’t raise a joey. Joeys not only need a place where they are protected, but they also need milk with nutrition based on their age to become a grown-up kangaroo. Male kangaroos could provide shelter and warm body temperature, but they cannot produce milk and therefore cannot feed their young. 

Kangaroo joeys crawl into the mother’s pouch

Are kangaroos born in the pouch? Kangaroos are not born in the pouch. When a joey is born, it pops out of the birth canal which is close to the mother’s tail. To mother sits down for that process and licks out the pouch to clean it just minutes or hours before giving birth. 

The joey then crawls into the pouch where it attaches itself to one of the teats. These teats provide the joey with milk that contains the nutrition the joey needs. Joeys are relatively undeveloped when they are given birth. They are blind, hairless, often weigh less than a gram and are just the size of a jellybean. But they have better-developed forelimbs and claws which enable them to reach the inside of the pouch. 

Read this article where I’ve linked a webpage that shows how a joey develops over time. 

What Is A Kangaroo Pouch Called?

A pouch is called a marsupium. Marsupium is Latin meaning “pouch”. Kangaroos are marsupials, which indicates that these animals have a pouch. 

Some of the well-known marsupials are kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, quokkas, koalas, possums, and wombats. Kangaroos, wallabies, and wallaroos are actually closely related to each other. Do you know their differences? Their major difference is their size, but check out this article to see the other differences between a kangaroo, a wallaby, and a wallaroo. 

All of them have in common that their young live in the pouch for the first few months of their lives.