Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

The Miracle Birth of a Kangaroo and His Pouch Life

February 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 132

The birth of a Kangaroo, is an amazing feat of nature. It is a miracle that the baby survives.

Firstly, in preparation, the mother licks and cleans her pouch and fur on the outside. She will usually then sit back into a position with her legs and tail to the front of her.

The tiny embryo joey who is about 2cm long is born from the mother's cloaca - the opening of the body down between the legs and comes out to the outside world. He (or she) then makes his way, all by himself without help from mother, using his little tiny hands, up through the mother's fur to the rim of the pouch. He then wriggles down the inside of the pouch to the bottom, where he latches on to one of 4 teats. The inside of the pouch does not have hair it is warm, clammy skin. This whole process takes about 3 minutes!

The embryo looks like a tiny pink bean, there are no signs of his legs or tail which are so characteristic of a Kangaroo! He doesn't need them at this stage. He needs his hands for climbing, his mouth for feeding and internal organs for the systems of his body.

The baby then grows and develops inside the mother's pouch which is a warm and cosy environment. Mother keeps a close eye on her baby, she licks and cleans him and as he grows she shows him affection and teaches him about their world. They form a very close bond.

The last thing the joey needs to develop is his hair because he has had all the warmth and protection he needs in the pouch. However for the outside world he needs his covering.

His first time out of the pouch is for only for a minute or two. It is a new experience, a bit frightening so he dives back into the safety of his mother's pouch. Gradually he spends more time out and begins to explore the world - firstly he stays very close to his mother but then he ventures for a little hop, and quite a few tumbles, while his mother is grazing. Back in his mother's pouch, he will sniff the plants she is eating and he will nibble at the dirt. As he develops, he too will eat what she is eating, she will take him to different plants.

Unless the mother is not healthy or has difficulties, she carries her joey until he is heavy and a big bulge in her pouch. She can still hop and jump over obstacles. However if she needs to escape from danger where there is a threat to her life, she will drop the big joey near a bush, tree or log where he can hide and she will continue her hopping. She returns to her joey as soon as the danger has passed.

The time the joey spends in the pouch varies from species to species. A Red joey leaves the pouch for the last time when he is 8 months old. The mother then, within hours, gives birth to the next little embryo whose development has been paused until the month before this birth. That little embryo makes his way to the bottom of mother's pouch and latches on to a different teat - on the other side of the pouch to the teat of the last joey, who is now called the 'at-foot' joey. Usually there is a big Red male hanging around the mother at this time, so very soon after the birth they mate and the process is started all over again. The process of the embryo waiting inside is called 'embryonic diapause'.

The 'at-foot' Red joey continues to feed from his teat for about 4 more months. He is now eating a varied diet. Mothers can feed milk of differing compositions to the at-foot joey, the little one developing inside the pouch and of course the new embryo developing within her body.

Greys have a different process. An Eastern Grey mother might re-mate when the joey in her pouch is about 5 or 6 months old. Her joey leaves the pouch for the last time at 10-11 months old. This joey stays close to her and continues to drink milk for about 4 more months - often it is for longer. So, again the mother is producing different types of milk for the at-foot joey and for the little one developing in the pouch.

Western Greys do not have 'embryonic diapause' so they do not mate until after the first joey is born. The joey stays in the pouch for bit shorter time than an Eastern Grey and continues to drink milk from his mother for about 4 months as an at-foot joey.

Kangaroos can have twins but it is a very rare sight because a mother simply cannot carry two developing joeys to full size. Unfortunately one joey has to be evicted from the pouch before he is fully developed. It must be a very difficult time for them all as it is obvious that a mother and her joeys have an intimate relationship.

Since 1990 Susie has been raising baby kangaroos (joeys) whose mothers have been killed. In 1998 her husband and she bought a 1700ha (3000acre) farm in NSW, Australia, with suitable habitat for Red and Grey Kangaroos where they could have a sanctuary and be safe and free. The farm is certified organic and until 4 years of drought, they grew grain crops. Now they only grow organic lavender and distil the flowers for lavender oil.

Susie's passion is kangaroos. She has raised hundreds of joeys and through having lived with kangaroos and having studied them up close and in the wild, she has learnt a lot about them. In 2001 she established her website as an educational site. Through Sponsoroo people can sponsor (adopt) a kangaroo and learn about him/her through stories, photos and email with Susie. She has recently created another website which is a site to sell her special lavender oil and also as another information site about kangaroos. Please visit both sites for many photos of kangaroos in Susie's care and for more information.

Susie is also a Teacher of English as a Second Language to adults (her students enjoy her joeys coming to class!) and has Online Business.

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Eastern Grey


Red Joey


Red Kangaroo






Western Grey











For gaining entrance in coveted fields in a reputed University, the entrance examinations are the gateway. The purpose of these entrance examinations is to test the potential of a candidate and how

By: Sarkariexam l Reference & Education > Science l December 23, 2012 lViews: 519

Competition is increasing at an alarming level in every sphere. The students have to focus completely on their studies to ensure that they get admission in the line of their choice. What more, the

By: Sarkariexam l Reference & Education > Continuing Education l December 14, 2012 lViews: 1443

'How hard is a PhD'? Many PhD holders have been asked this question millions of times, but there is never any definite answer. We look at those who walk around proudly with a 'Doctor' title with

By: onlineedublog l Reference & Education > Continuing Education l November 11, 2012 lViews: 284

In this fast paced world which is sadly recession struck, it is indeed a good idea to work while acquiring further education. A master’s degree is obviously better than a bachelor’s in almost

By: onlineedublog l Reference & Education > Online Education l November 04, 2012 lViews: 262

An Online Degree Program in Finance is gaining popularity as it helps students to develop a lucrative career. It helps in a competitive business world. This has resulted in more number of students

By: Matthew l Reference & Education > Online Education l October 31, 2012 lViews: 287

Supporting justice is one of the reasons many people get into a career in the legal field. All-inclusive Online Associate’s Degree in Legal Studies assists many in the beginning stage of employment

By: Richard l Reference & Education > Online Education l October 26, 2012 lViews: 221

The Bluebird is among the most popular of all backyard bird watchers. Even non-bird watchers love to see them because of their beautiful blue feathers. However, not everyone is familiar with a lot of

By: Jackl Reference & Education > Wildlifel October 17, 2012 lViews: 194

Largest of the lizards that frequent the territory outside our house is a member of the Goanna family, named the Lace Monitor. A mature individual can reach a length of close to five feet from nose

By: Dorothy Gauvinl Reference & Education > Wildlifel July 04, 2012 lViews: 189

At our place, the Rainbow Skink is the most populous type. The local Kookaburras will snack on these small lizards but prefer a larger mouthful of gecko or tree snake. Last Sunday began with...

By: Dorothy Gauvinl Reference & Education > Wildlifel July 02, 2012 lViews: 206

Forest School Level 3 Training is designed to provide the necessary tools to individuals already working with young people in setting up and running Forest School programmes. Outdoor teachers

By: Cristopher Laguna Abanill Reference & Education > Wildlifel July 01, 2012 lViews: 175

Every Eden needs a serpent. My personal paradise in Tropical North Queensland is host to the eight most venomous land snakes on the planet. It also is the home of several species of Python, growing

By: Dorothy Gauvinl Reference & Education > Wildlifel June 28, 2012 lViews: 178

Of the more than forty snake species living in my corner of the world - Tropical North Queensland - eight have the dubious honour of being the most venomous on the planet. They include the fearsome

By: Dorothy Gauvinl Reference & Education > Wildlifel June 28, 2012 lViews: 210

What is the Definition of a Marsupial? How many Teats does a Kangaroo have? How many Joeys can the Mother Feed at the Same Time? How long is a Joey's Pouch life?

By: Susie Rowel Reference & Education > Wildlifel February 20, 2012 lViews: 146