I’m sure everyone has their idea of their favorite Marsupial; Kangaroos, Koalas, maybe the Wallaby (especially if you grew up in the 90s with Rocko’s Modern Life). Some pretty cool marsupials aside from the common favorites exist. Unfortunately, this is just a general post, so that stuff will have to wait a little while.
There are 334 species of extant marsupials, about 100 of which occur in the Americas (mostly South America). The name comes from the “marsupium” or pouch that differentiates them from placental mammals. They fall into 7 orders:
- Dasyuromorphia – Tasmanian Tiger (now extinct), Numbat, Quoll, Tasmanian Devil, Dunnarts
- Didelphimorphia – Opossum
- Diprotodontia – Koala, Wombat, Kangaroo, Wombat, Gliders, Possums, etc.
- Microbiotheria – Monito del Monte (single species of this order)
- Notoryctemorphia – Marsupial mole
- Paucituberculata – Shrew opossum
- Peramelemorphia – Bandicoot, Bilby
As mentioned in the previous post, they lack a corpus callosum (like reptiles and monotremes). Marsupials have a short gestation period, leading to the birth of underdeveloped young and the necessity of the mother’s pouch. All young are born blind and hairless with the use of only their front limbs to climb into the pouch and attach to a teat. However, not all marsupials have a permanent pouch or even one at all. They are then classified as marsupials when they give birth to underdeveloped young.
Wanna watch a video from the 60s?? Warning: It’s a kangaroo birth video so it’s sort of gross.
Just because I love Steve Irwin (wow, this theme song was goofy…):