Saturday, August 23, 2014

A kangaroo and a koala walk into a bar...

even joeys disobey
photo: FunnyJokePictures
...and the kangaroo says "I'm worried about my little Joey's future, he's a complete pouch potato".

Both kangaroos and koalas (and wallabies, quolls, Tasmanian devils, and wombats, to name just a few) are marsupials — mammals with a pouch, called a marsupium, in which their infants, called joeys, develop.

Instead of developing in the womb fed with nutrients through the placenta, like we and most mammals are, marsupial joeys are born very early, very blind and very bald, and find their way to a nipple in their mom's pouch.

They stay attached to it suckling milk for weeks, without moving, while they grow. Once developed, they can survive outside the pouch for short periods, but they return regularly to their mom's pouch for warmth and protection for up to a year.

With that in mind, enjoy some True Facts about Marsupials:


Video courtesy of ZeFrank

I love combining funny and educational, and the True Fact series do just that.

While this video highlights the more famous marsupials of Australia, there are many others, both in Australia and in South America. In fact, these and the other Aussie marsupials actually descended from an ancestor in the Americas.

We came from Where??
photo: CFZAustralia
Yes, it's true, Joe, just ask your DNA.

The Americas still have 99 of 334 species of marsupials, mostly small nocturnal species, all but one in South America. Although just one, the Virginia opossum, still occurs naturally in the U.S., North America used to have numerous marsupial species. Most of the now-extinct American species likely lost out to placental mammals that charged south once the Central American land bridge formed between North and South America.

Australian and New Guinean marsupials didn't face that threat until recently, when people brought rabbits and sheep that changed the continent's vegetation and dogs, foxes, cats, rats, weasels, and other non-native predators that ate native mammals.

a numbat, one of many wonderful marsupials on the brink
photo: Perth Zoo

For all those millennia, marsupials didn't need strategies to deal with such efficient hunters, especially people themselves, so now, populations of some species (bilbies, bandicoots, numbats, potaroos, koalas, to name a few) are in serious trouble and will need substantial help from people to persist.

There is still a crazy variety of marsupials -- which is your favorite?

No comments:

Post a Comment