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We’ve got ’em, here!
Did you know there are 334 species of Marsupials, with the 6 most recognized species being – the Kangaroo, Wallaby, Koala, Opossum, Wombat, and the fiery Tasmanian Devil? Collectively, and when in the wild, these species live primarily in Australasia, with the only the Virginia Opposum living in North America.
Marsupials have similar characteristics to other mammals, such as middle ear bones, true hair, and mammary glands. Their most distinguishing characteristic, however, is their front pouch. The pouch acts as a protective sleeve for their young, as well as contains several nipples for the young to feed as they develop.
Because of their inability to develop complex placentas, a developing marsupial is born much earlier than other mammals. The infant marsupial, referred to as a joey, is born hairless, blind, and very tiny. The joey then makes its way to the pouch where it will stay for an extended time to develop and mature.
The smallest of marsupials is the Long-tailed Planigale (10cms long; or 2 inches), while the Red-Tailed Kangaroo (1.5m; or 5.25ft in height) is the largest.
Another interesting fact: Marsupials are unable to communicate between their left and right brain hemispheres.
“I have no fear of losing my life – if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it”. – Steve Irwin
“Two kangaroos were talking to each other, and one said, ‘I hope it doesn’t rain today. I hate it when the children play inside.” – Henny Youngman
“Even to this day, no native Australian animal species and only one plant species-the macadamia nut-have proved suitable for domestication. There still are no domestic kangaroos.” – Jared Diamond
“A lot of people who work with wildlife work with wildlife to satisfy their own egos. And I don’t really agree with that. What I do is get in nice and close to the animal to make the animal look good. My aim in this world is to make that brown snake, that crocodile, that koala, that red-backed spider, that black widow, look good. That’s my job. I have absolutely no problem with my ego or my staff’s ego.” – Steve Irwin