Kangaroos are one of the only animals built with a special pouch for carrying their young! All animals with these special pouches are types of mammals known as marsupials. Because the pouch is a place for keeping the young babies, only female kangaroos have them. The scientific name for the female kangaroo’s pouch is the marsupium.
The reason why kangaroos (and other marsupials) have pouches for carrying their babies is that their offspring are particularly tiny when they’re born, and the pouch gives them a safe place to stay until they grow larger. – In fact, a baby kangaroo (known as a joey) is only about the size of bean when it’s first born and moves into its mother’s pouch!
Pouched mammals belong to the 335 species of the infra-class Marsupialia. A few other marsupials are wombats, koalas and bandicoots. Found primarily in Central and South America and Australia, marsupial mammals are distinct from other mammals in that they give birth after a very short gestation period to tiny, immature young, which then must crawl to the pouch to nurse and continue growing. Because few marsupials have a placenta in which a fetus can develop fully, the pouch provides a protected environment for the maturation of the young.
Now, you may have never actually questioned what the inside of a kangaroo pouch looks like. Similar to Destin Sandlin, creator and host of the popular YouTube science series Smarter Every Day, we always thought the pouch would be similar to a pocket attached to a kangaroo. Below is a video of what the inside of the pouch looks like and it’s not at all what you would think. Hint: It’s actually a lot smaller and practically invisible to the naked eye.