What’s a Baby Kangaroo Called & 5 More Amazing Facts!

Written by Sadie Dunlap
Published: December 10, 2021
Image Credit iStock.com/burroblando
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The size of a lima bean? A tail used as a fifth limb? We found that there’s a lot of cool things to learn regarding baby kangaroos. Come take a look at these 6 baby kangaroo pictures and learn these 6 interesting facts!

#1: Did You Know that Baby Kangaroos Are Called Joeys?

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A baby kangaroo is called a joey.

iStock.com/JohnCarnemolla

A baby kangaroo is called a Joey. These tiny marsupials share their baby title with koalas, opossums, wallabies, and even wombats! If you’re wondering why kangaroos have such a unique baby name compared to other animals, it’s because “joey” means “little animal” in the Aboriginal language. Thus, many Australian babies are simply joeys because they’re little animals!

#2: Joeys Are Potty Trained From Birth 

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Joeys depend on their mothers to stimulate them to produce waste.

iStock.com/Steve Fraser

When kangaroos are born, they’re the size of a bean. They’re so small that their mother cannot even touch them yet. Their mom makes sure they make it into her pouch and from there, she keeps it nice and tidy for her new baby. 

She uses her tongue to get rid of any dirt or mess that may accumulate, including any waste the baby kangaroo creates. Baby kangaroos can’t go to the bathroom unless their mom licks them to give them the sensation to go. Although this sounds less than appealing, the babies only produce at most a drop or two of waste at a time on account of how tiny they are. 

#3: Baby Kangaroos Only Grow For A Month Before Birth

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Kangaroos only grow for about a month in the womb before moving to their mother’s pouch.

iStock.com/photogerson

Have you ever wondered why baby kangaroos stay in their mom’s pouch for so long after birth? That’s because these babies are born extremely premature. 

Baby kangaroos are the size of a small bean and once born, they must make the journey to their mother’s pouch all on their own. Such a big job for a tiny baby, right? The fact is, they’re too small to be touched to help. However, since these tiny babies are marsupials, they must make it into their mother’s pouch in order to survive.

Making into the pouch is something to be proud of in itself considering the babies weigh 400 times less than a pound and are completely blind. Once they’re safe and sound, they’ll spend most of their time growing and getting stronger. When they’re big enough, they can be seen poking their heads out to explore the world from the safety of mom!

#4: Joeys Are The Smallest And Largest Marsupial

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Kangaroos birth the smallest marsupials and grow to be the largest.

iStock.com/JohnCarnemolla

A newborn kangaroo is so tiny and delicate it cannot even be touched by its mother. The newborns weigh 400 times less than a pound, at about .8 grams. Consequently, they are the smallest marsupial on Earth at birth. Now, that’s seriously tiny!

Marsupials are animals that are born before they are completely developed. These animals are unique because they must finish developing outside of their mother’s womb. Luckily, joeys grow quickly, and when the males become adults and are fully grown, they become the largest marsupials in the animal kingdom.

#5: Baby Kangaroos Use Their Tails As A Fifth Limb

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A joey’s tail is essential to their balance.

iStock.com/burroblando

As they grow, a joey’s tail grows stronger and stronger. Some kangaroos can be seen using their tail as a fifth leg when walking at a normal pace. These tails can also be used defensively when needed. 

A baby kangaroo’s tail is crucial to its balance. This is because when they jump, they will use their tail to steady themselves on the ground once they land. This ensures a safe, secure landing and protects the joey from getting hurt in the landing.

#6: Female Kangaroos Protect Their Young in a Unique Way

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Female kangaroos can pause their pregnancy to protect their babies.

iStock.com/Andrew Coleman

When a mother kangaroo is pregnant, she will stop at nothing to protect her joey. In fact, female kangaroos have the extraordinary ability to pause their pregnancy if the environment isn’t right for raising a new baby. A mother roo might pause her pregnancy if she becomes pregnant too soon after having a child, or if she wants to hold off until a more favorable season comes up.

Kangaroos are not the only animals with the ability to do this. They share this amazing evolutionary ability with bears, seals, and many other species that are mostly carnivores on Earth.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much do baby kangaroos weigh?

Even though kangaroos can be quite large as adults, they start impossibly tiny from birth. Baby kangaroos are sometimes born weighing less than a gram and are the size of a small bean. When fully grown, adult kangaroos can weigh from 40kg to 90kg or 85 to 200 pounds with the female kangaroo being the smaller of the two.

What do baby kangaroos eat?

Baby kangaroos are provided with a special formula of milk from their mothers that changes with every stage of their life. Baby kangaroos nurse for a little over a year before they wean from milk and start on the diet they will adopt for the rest of their lives. Kangaroos are herbivores, so they tend to eat grass and a lot of vegetation!

Where do baby kangaroos live?

Born a month after conception, baby kangaroos are born weak and helpless. This makes it extremely important for them to make it into their mother’s pouch as quickly as their tiny bodies can. They make themselves comfortable in their new home for around 6 to 8 months until they’re able to walk on their own. Kangaroos can only be found in Australia.

What are baby kangaroos called?

Baby kangaroos are called joeys, which means ‘small animal’ and is derived from the aborigine language. Adult kangaroos are often called ‘roos’ for short.

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