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What are marsupials?

A young kangaroo in its mother's pouchLike other kinds of mammals, marsupials give birth to live young. But a newborn marsupial is hardly developed at all. The tiny creature clings to its mother’s body or is carried in a pouch where it feeds on its mother’s milk until it is old enough to leave. Apart from the opossum family of the Americas, marsupials live only in Australasia. Many feed only on plants, leaves and fruit, but a few prey on insects and small animals.


Kangaroos

Red kangaroos grazing on a plain in Australia. The females are a blue-grey colour. Two male kangaroos fight one another over females to mate with. They “box” with their fists and kick out with their strong back...Read More >>Two male kangaroos fight one another over females to mate with. They “box” with their fists and kick out with their strong back feet.Kangaroos live in groups, called mobs, on the dry, grassy plains of Australia. They eat grass and shrubs. Kangaroos can cover enormous distances bounding along on their strong back legs. Males fight one another to be the head of the mob. Closely related to kangaroos are the wallabies. They are smaller and stockier, but have similar lifestyles.
A baby kangaroo crawls up its mother’s fur (1) into her pouch. Here it attaches itself to one of her nipples to feed (2).
The female has a deep pouch in which she carries her young (joeys). Her nipples are inside her pouch. The tiny baby sucks milk from the nipple until it is old enough to let go.

Kangaroos and wallabies are the only large animals to use hopping as a means of getting around.

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