While numerous marsupials, such as opossums, Tasmanian devils, and even koalas, rear their young in pouches, kangaroos undeniably hold the title for being the most iconic among them.

So what is it like inside a kangaroo's pouch?

Rick Schwartz, an animal care supervisor and national spokesperson at the San Diego Zoo, likened the kangaroo's pouch to a hoodie sweatshirt worn backwards. He explained that the hood of the sweatshirt represents the pouch, and the drawstrings symbolize the mother's muscles, which she uses to open and close it. "It does open up quite a bit if she wants it to," Schwartz explained to Live Science.

"The inside of the pouch has the texture of the kangaroo's skin but is hairless," Schwartz described. "It's soft, akin to the skin on the inside of a person's wrist." He noted that the pouch is notably warm, matching the mother's body temperature at around 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degrees Celsius). "Because of this," he added, "it can get sweaty in there."

"The joey remains inside the pouch for about four-and-a-half to five months before venturing out. Initially, it explores while staying close to its mother, eventually returning to the safety of her pouch," described Schwartz. "

"As the months pass, the joey starts to venture farther and for longer periods. By around 8 months old, it becomes notably adventurous." Schwartz continued, "The weaning process typically occurs between 10 and 12 months, marking the point where the joey no longer hops back into the pouch."

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Video by Animals Tower

"Due to spending months inside the pouch before emerging, the joey defecates inside," Schwartz explained. "As it becomes more active and ventures out to explore, it tracks dirt in, necessitating some housekeeping by the mama kangaroo."

He elaborated, "To clean the pouch, she sticks her whole head in, scraping out the grime and droppings with her tongue. Sometimes, she works around a young joey, or if the joey is older, she may kick it out temporarily while she cleans."

"Kangaroos typically give birth to only one joey at a time. However, when they mate, if the conditions are unfavorable for raising a baby—such as during a drought—the animal's body delays implanting the embryo into the uterus," explained Schwartz. "Later, when the conditions improve, the embryo exits dormancy, and gestation begins."

Lykkers, have you gained a deeper understanding of kangaroos after reading this? Let's explore more magical animals next time!