Kangaroos are mammals that are part of a special group known as marsupials. Marsupials are mammals that have a special pouch used for carrying their babies. In addition to kangaroos, other marsupials include the wombat, the koala, the opossum, and the wallaby.
Kangaroos and other marsupials have a special pouch — called a marsupium — for carrying their babies because their young are particularly small when they’re born. A baby kangaroo — called a joey — is about the size of a lima bean when it’s born!
The mother’s pouch provides a safe place for her babies to stay until they grow large enough to survive outside the pouch on their own. Since pouches are for babies to stay in, only female kangaroos have them.
Male kangaroos who want pockets simply have to wear pants. Just kidding! Kangaroos don’t wear pants, of course. Can you imagine what kangaroo pants would look like? They would have to be very flexible to accommodate those long legs and all that jumping! Plus, where would the tail stick out?
Because of their long feet, kangaroos can’t walk normally. Instead, they use their big, powerful hind legs to hop wherever they want to go. They also use their muscular tails to help keep their balance.
The animals we call kangaroos are usually one of four species native to Australia: the red kangaroo, the eastern grey kangaroo, the western grey kangaroo, and the antilopine kangaroo. Fully-grown kangaroos are usually 5-6 feet tall and weigh 50-120 pounds, although large kangaroos can reach as much as 200 pounds.
Kangaroos usually live and travel in organized groups of 10 or more. These groups are called mobs, troops, or courts. Male kangaroos are often called boomers, bucks, or jacks, while female kangaroos are often called does, flyers, or jills.
So, if you’re ever in Australia and you see a group of kangaroos that includes a father, mother, and a baby, you can say you saw a jack, a jill, and a joey in a mob. And locals will probably know exactly what you’re talking about!