We all know that kangaroos have a fold of skin called a pouch that’s used to carry around their babies. But do male kangaroos have pouches, or is it just female kangaroos? Let’s answer this commonly asked question about kangaroos once and for all below.
Do Male Kangaroos Have Pouches?
No. Only female kangaroos have pouches and consequently male kangaroos do not have pouches.
Female kangaroos are responsible for giving birth and raising their offspring. After just over a month of gestation a baby kangaroo, also known as a joey, is born. Since a baby kangaroo is relatively undeveloped at birth, it spends nearly its first eight months in its mother’s pouch. After leaving the pouch for the first time, the joey will return to its mother’s pouch for another six months or so until it’s fully independent.
Male kangaroos, on the other hand, don’t play much of a role in raising their young. This duty is the responsibility of the female kangaroo who nurses and feeds their offspring in her pouch.
Do Male Marsupials Have Pouches?
Kangaroos are part of the marsupial family of mammals. A distinct characteristic common to marsupials is their pouch—scientifically called a marsupium. Knowing this, we can ask a similar question: do male marsupials have pouches?
While all female marsupials have a marsupium, very few male marsupials have this pouch. We know by now that male kangaroos don’t have pouches, but some species of male marsupials do indeed have pouches.
Both sexes of the now-extinct Tasmanian Tiger had a pouch. Unfortunately, the Tasmanian Tiger went extinct as of 1936.
The only living marsupial in which both sexes have a pouch is the water opossum. That’s right, both female and male water opossums have pouches.
Interested in kangaroos? Check out some of my other kangaroo blog posts here, and let’s talk kangaroos below.