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Uploaded:2015-09-28
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What do kangaroos, koalas, and opossums all have in common? Find out when you learn all about marsupials!
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SOURCES:
http://www.britannica.com/animal/marsupial

http://www.britannica.com/animal/opossum

http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/marsupial

http://www.ferris.edu/card/kids_corner/marsupials.htm

https://web.missouri.edu/~krausew/Histology/Home_files/opossum.pdf

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2006/04/06/2042654.htm
(SciShow Kids Intro plays)

Jessi: You know that cozy feeling when you're all cuddled up in bed wrapped in you favorite blanket? Wouldn't it be great if you could get around like that? Imagine if someone could take you to school or to your friend's house or wherever and you could just stay snuggled up? Some baby animals like this little guy get to do that.

This tiny kangaroo and its parents are special kinds of mammals called marsupials. You probably know about some of these animals already, like the kangaroo or the koala or maybe even the wallaby. All of these animals are marsupials and they happen to live in Australia and the nearby island of New Guinea, but there are more than 200 kinds of marsupials and they can be found in other parts of the world too. Like the Virginia opossum which lives in North America and it's about the size of a pet cat, or the yapok which makes its home in central and South America. It's one of the few marsupials that can swim.

But no matter were they live, most marsupials have one thing in common. I'll give you a hint: that little kangaroo was sitting in one. You got it, marsupials have pouches, but only the females do because that's where the mothers carry their tiny babies. The pouches are sort of like pockets but more like drawstring bags, and they don't look like they do in cartoons.

Marsupial babies, like most other mammals, form inside their mothers' bodies at first but they're born a lot earlier than other mammals, so they're a lot smaller. When they're born, baby marsupials are called joeys, and they still have a lot of growing to do so they stay snug in their mother's pouch where they can drink her milk, and keep getting bigger until they're ready for life in the big wide world.

But, not all pouches are the same. Some pouches look like this mother kangaroo's pouch. Those kind of pouches open up near the top, but other pouches like the one that wombats have, open near the bottom. Either way, a marsupial's pouch has a strong muscle around the opening to keep the tiny joey inside from falling out.

Now, besides having pouches, many marsupials have another thing in common: They have an excellent sense of smell which they use to sniff out their meals. And they need their super-smelling pouch because most marsupials are nocturnal, which means they're awakes at night so that's when they're out looking for food. Since it's harder to see at night, their other senses, like their sense of smell and hearing, have adapted to their dark surroundings.

And you know one animal who has a nose for night life? Meet the bilby. Their favorite snacks are termites and they spend most of their nights scratching around in the desert looking for them, but since it's super hard to spot these insects at night, bilbies use their extra long powerful noses to sniff out the bugs in the dark. Then, when they find their prey, they lap them up with their really long skinny tongues, perfect for nabbing bugs on the run.

Another thing about the bilbies? They have giant ears! Their big ears give off heat to help keep them cool and they can also pick up sounds from miles away, so they can hear predators that they couldn't spot in the dark. If they hear or smell trouble coming, bilbies scurry back into their deep burrows, the dens that the dig underground, kind of like our fort.

From raising their babies in warm cozy pouches to having super senses of smell and hearing, I think you'll agree, marsupials are amazing animals.

So thanks for learning about them with us, and remember, if you have a question about anything you'd like to learn more about just let us know by getting help from an adult and leaving a comment below or email us at kids@thescishow.com, and we'll see you next time at the fort.

(endscreen)