I recently took a trip to the Bush Gardens amusement park, and was so excited when I found out they had a kangaroo encounter where you could feed and pet kangaroos and wallabies!
But when I got to the exhibit, it looked like several of the larger kangaroos did not have pouches.
It made me wonder, do male kangaroos have pouches or is it only the females?
Do male kangaroos have pouches?
Male kangaroos do not have pouches. Male kangaroos have no need for a pouch because they do not carry or nurture the babies.In fact, the male kangaroos do not play a very big role in caring for young at all. Male Kangaroos main duty is to protect the baby Joeys (baby kangaroos) and the Mob ( group of Kangaroos).
Learning this raised even more questions for me; Do male kangaroos play a role in caring for young or are they all dead-beat dads? What role do different types of kangaroos play in caring for young? Do any male marsupials have pouches?
Why do some male marsupials have pouches and others do not?If you are as curious as I am about this strange animal and want the answers to these questions, you’ve come to the right place!
Common Types of Kangaroos and the Male’s Role in the Family
The most common and well known types of kangaroos are the red kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo, western grey kangaroo, antilopine kangaroo, common & black wallaroo, and the tree kangaroo.
Experts do not know a lot about kangaroos, including how many different kinds there are. According to the experts, there are more than 50 kinds of kangaroos, and none of them have pouches.
Other than tree kangaroos, the only role most males play in caring for young is offering protection. Kangaroos live in social groups called “mobs” which can have anywhere from 2 to hundreds of members. Generally, the larger the kangaroo the smaller the group, but no experts have an exact number for each species.
The mob is run by one dominant male who holds breeding rights with all the females. This male establishes his dominance by “boxing” or fighting off competing males and predators with his powerful legs and large body.
Do Red Kangaroo Males Have Pouches
Australia’s national animal, the red kangaroo, is the largest marsupial in the world. Generally, males stand about 6 feet tall while the females stand about 3 feet. The largest male every seen towered 8 feet tall and weighed over 200 lbs.!
Their reddish-brown fur is very distinctive, hence the name “red kangaroo.” They live in the deserts, open grasslands, and woodlands in central Australia.
Red kangaroo males do not have pouches; they have no need for a pouch. The only contribution they make to raising their offspring is protection.
The male red kangaroos use their powerful legs and large bodies to fight off predators and other threats that get too close to their social group.
Do Eastern Grey Kangaroo Males Have Pouches
The eastern grey kangaroo can be found in the woodlands, pastures, and forests on the eastern side of Australia. Males usually stand around 5 feet tall while females stand around 4 feet. Their distinct fluffy grey fur is much lighter than the western grey kangaroo’s (and in my opinion, it makes them much cuter!).
Male eastern grey kangaroos do not have pouches. The dominant male in the social group offers protection to the females and offspring by fighting off predators and other threats, but that is the dad’s only role.
Do Western Grey Kangaroo Males Have Pouches
The western grey kangaroo makes its home in the woodlands, open-forests, open grasslands, and coastal heathland on the western side of Australia. Females (3 ft) are about half the size of the males (6 ft) on average. Their grey fur is much darker and less fluffy than the fur of their cousins on the eastern side of Australia.
Again, the males do not have pouches. Their only role is to protect the group from predators and competing males who want to take over the family.
Do Antilopine Kangaroo Males Have Pouches
Antilopine kangaroos can only be found in the more tropical areas of Australia. They are much smaller than red and grey kangaroos, with males standing around 4 feet tall and females standing around 3 feet. Their fur is light grey with a touch of reddish-brown.
The antilopine kangaroo males also do not have pouches. These kangaroos live in large groups consisting of both males and females until the babies are born and enter the mother’s pouch.
Once the babies, or joeys, are inside the mother’s pouch, the group splits; the younger males form smaller “bachelor” groups while the females and young form larger groups. The larger males are mostly solitary. The smaller groups do come together at their “meeting spot” at night, and if there are any predators the males take care of it.
Do Common & Black Wallaroo Kangaroo Males Have Pouches
Common and black wallaroo kangaroos can be found in rocky hills, caves, and other rock formations across Australia.
They are much smaller than most of their cousins, with males standing around 3 feet tall and females standing around 2.5 feet.
The common wallaroo’s fur is light grey, and I bet you can guess what color the black wallaroo’s coat is (its black).
Common and black wallaroos do not have pouches. Once again, their only role is to protect the group from predators and competing males.
Do Tree Kangaroo Males Have Pouches
Tree kangaroos are very unique (and adorable) creatures. They don’t really look like other kangaroos; I think they look like someone mixed a lemur with a big fluffy teddy bear. Tree kangaroos can only be found in Australia’s rainforests. They stand between 3 and 6 feet and are covered in reddish-brown, fluffy fur.
Out of all the common types of kangaroos, the tree kangaroo wins the award for the most dead-beat dad. The males do not have a pouch and do not even stick around for their babies to be born.
They have a territory that overlaps with the territories of several females. Both the males and the females are solitary (aside from their young), so the male offers absolutely nothing to the infant other than its DNA.
Do Any Male Marsupials Have Pouches?
The only male marsupials known to have pouches are Water Opossums and the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger. These marsupials both rely/relied on the water for food.
Their pouch serves/served a very odd purpose, which will be discussed in the next section. But fair warning; the reason the water possum males need a pouch is not something my mother would want to read.
Why do Male Water Opossums Have Pouches
Graphic content warning (rated: this is not something my mom would want to read). So male water opossums actually have a very strange reason for needing a pouch. I am sure you gathered from their name that this marsupial lives near the water and swims.
Before the male water opossum goes swimming, he places his genitals inside his pouch to prevent them from getting tangled in aquatic plants. The now extinct Tasmanian Tiger males had pouches that they used for the same reason.
Do Male Kangaroos Carry Babies and Care for Them
Male Kangaroos do not have pouches, so they do not carry joeys. In fact, the male kangaroos do not play a very big role in caring for young at all. Kangaroos live in social groups called Mobs, which can have anywhere from 5 to hundreds of members.
While the group is made up of both males and females of all ages, the group is led by one dominant male. The dominant male has breeding rights with the females in his group, so most of the babies are usually his.
Dad’s job is basically to protect to Mob. They use their powerful legs and large bodies to fight off predators and other males who want to take over their group.
Male kangaroos are actually extremely aggressive and have even chased down humans who got too close for comfort.
Do boy kangaroos have pouches
No, boy kangaroo’s do not have pouches. Boy kangaroos do not carry or care for the babies, so they have no need for a pouch.
Do joeys poop in the pouch
Unfortunately, yes. Baby joeys are not potty trained, and they often go number one and number two in their mother’s pouch. However, mother kangaroo’s do clean their pouches when the baby gets out to play.
Are kangaroo pouches dirty
The answer to this question depends on your definition of clean. A kangaroo’s pouch collects dirt, urine, and feces overtime from the joey.
When the joey is around 6 months old, she/he starts leaving the pouch for short periods of time to explore their world and exercise. While her baby is out, Mom takes the opportunity to lick all the dirt and gunk out of her pouch.
What does it look like inside a kangaroo’s pouch
The inside of a kangaroo’s pouch is pink, mostly hairless, and contains several nipples. Probably not what you expected, right? Honestly I was shocked when I found out what it looks like in there! The skin is actually slightly sticky to help keep the joey from falling out.
And a mother kangaroo’s nipples are actually really cool! She is able to produce diverse kinds of milk out of each nipple so she can nurse joeys of different ages at a time!
How much can a kangaroo pouch hold
A kangaroo’s pouch can hold up to around 6 kg. or 13 lbs. at a time.