Introduction to Marsupials
A marsupial is a type of animal that has a pouch for the young to be carried around in. Among these animals are the Kangaroo and the Koala. While these two are very well known, the fact is that more than 200 different species of marsupials are known to exist in Australasia.
Why do the Kangaroo and the Koala get the majority of the attention then? Well, it is hard not to love them as they look very cute and cuddly. Photos of Kangaroos with their joeys peeking over the side curiously definitely melt our heart. The Koala is also an animal people associate with due to it being so cute and gentile.
With a marsupial, the young are born very early – well before they are fully developed or able to care for themselves. They make the journey to the pouch where they will continue to feed and to grow. They can do this by crawling instinctively and by using the strong upper body. For a very small creature, it is truly amazing how strong their upper body is at birth.
It is believed that marsupials don’t have the ability to create a placenta that would need to form around the embryo. This is why they are born so early and then live in the pouch. The females also benefit because they don’t have to carry around a heavy fetus inside of them for many months. They get to keep their mobility to look for food and to hide from danger.
They have very protective mothers that will do all they can to protect them from harm. They are amazing caregivers that form a deep bond with the young. Should the young marsupial die for any reason there is a long period of grief for the mother that has been observed. They may take on the care of an orphaned marsupial if there is one around. This shows that they are very interested in caring for the young. They tend to be loners for the most part but do engage in some socialization.
Experts have carefully studied the brains of marsupials and found them to be very small in size. These are very simplistic animals without too many abilities beyond those that are necessary for survival. They don’t have the ability for gross communication due to this element lacking between the right and left sides of the brain.
Marsupials also have two lateral vaginas and males have ‘S’ shaped penis when is not erect. They also have a third canal, known as the median vagina that opens where the offspring are born from. What you will find though is that marsupials range widely in size, location, and physical characteristics. They have found ways to thrive in locations where very few other animals would be able to.
There is no denying that marsupials are very interesting animals to study. They have many differences from what we consider normal for other animals in our society. Most people find them to be boring and basic, but when you start really exploring how they live and their anatomy you quickly realize that they can be fascinating.
Almost all marsupials are native of Australia but they also well known in zoos around the world. They are common attractions that help to bring visitors to these areas on a regular basis. They are also easy to care for compared to some other types of animals out there. This makes them something you may have seen up close and personal. If not, there are plenty of books and information online where you can get a great view of different marsupials.