Macropodidae/Macropod (large foot). Kangaroos and the smaller wallaby are similar but have two distinct genetic makeups and cannot hybridize. They are both herbivores, though they have different eating patterns. Both live in groups called "Mobs" which can have 10-100 family members. Macropods are marsupials, and the pouch is called a marsupium. Macropod babies are called joeys (in fact, all marsupials are called joeys: opossums, sugar gliders, koalas, wombats, Tasmanian Devils etc.). Two-hundred-fifty marsupials are native to Australia. Of that number 50-73 are macropods (sources vary on numbers). The Virginia possum is the only marsupial in North America. Macropods include the very largest Red Kangaroo down to the very smallest musky Rat Kangaroo. Male kangaroos are called Boomers, and the females are affectionately called Flyers. Joeys are born after a 31 day gestation, and only take three minutes to make the journey into the pouch to latch on to a nipple. That nipple will then substitute as the umbilical cord for another 3 1/2 months when Joey will fall off and nurse at will. Joeys go through three distinct development stages of development and by 8-9 months mum will not let joey back in pouch. However, joey will continue to nurse up to 18 months depending on the mother and the joey. Mum kangaroos can have three babies at once: The oldest is 'at foot" (no longer inside the pouch and must stand outside to nurse). She can then have a joey on the nipple; and for some kangaroos she can hold a fertilized egg in "diapause" inside her one of two uteri until she is ready to give birth after the joey on the nipple has vacated the pouch and is "at foot". It is amazing that mums can make two different types of milk to meet the different nutritional needs of her joey at foot and on the nipple. The strongest muscle on a kangaroo and wallaby is their tail. The tail will support their body when standing up on two legs, and also helps during walking on all fours. This mode of walking is called "pentapedal", or five pedals. When running full on they can jump almost thirty feet in one bound and run up to 30-40 mph. When going full speed a kangaroo is capable of jumping a 10 foot wall! It is NOT true that kangaroo mums toss their joeys to a predator if they are being chased. It is not uncommon for a joey to fall out of a pouch when mum gets a fright and takes off running. Research has shown that kangaroo mums will come back to find their baby once the fright is past. Again, they do NOT throw their joeys to a predator just to save themselves.
Sydney is our shy wallaby. Here he gets to meet a sweet princess
Victoria enjoys her time with her new mama. So blessed to have her in our lives.
Can't get much better than this!