A marsupial is any animal (like a kangaroo) in which the mother has a pouch to carry her babies! All marsupials are types of mammals, which means they are all animals who have hair and whose babies nurse on milk from the mother. It’s the pouches which make marsupials different from other mammals. Unlike other mammals, most marsupials are born when they are still very young and tiny. In order to keep her tiny baby safe, the mother carries the young creature around in her pouch, where the baby is able to nurse, grow, and sleep until he or she is big enough to go out into the world alone!
Further informationIn addition to marsupials, there are two other classes of mammals: Monotremes (a small class that include the duck-billed platypus), and placentals (like humans, monkeys, dogs, elephants, and many more!).
What are some kinds of marsupials that you know about? A few great examples include kangaroos, koalas, and possums! Do you know where a lot of these animals live?? -- Australia! Try finding Australia on a map or on a globe!
Why do you think it's helpful for the marsupials to live in the pouches until they are bigger? Can you think of any other animals who have a similar way of giving birth and growing up? Do you think marsupials have any disadvantages because of their pouches??
Try tying a cloth around your waist for the day like a pouch! Put a stuffed animal inside and see what it would be like if you were a marsupial caring for a baby!
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