A female kangaroo gives birth to a tiny joey about the
size of a jellybean weighing only 2gm.
She carries it in her pouch for months until it is at
a stage of development where it can live outside the pouch.
How mother kangaroo raises a joey:
A female Eastern Grey kangaroo gives birth to a tiny joey that weighs about 2gm and is the size of a jellybean. It is pink, hairless and its eyes are closed.
Before the birth, the mother kangaroo licks her fur to make a track so that the joey can climb up into her pouch. It's a long way for the newborn to climb using its small front legs.
When it arrives safely, the joey attaches itself to a teat.
The little joey stays attached to the teat drinking milk for several months.
As it grows and develops, it also starts to grow fine fur.
After a few months its eyes open.
Soon it is able to let go of the teat and look out of the pouch at the world its mother lives in.
It also starts to nibble grass.
By the time the joey is about 8 months old it is able to leave the pouch and stand on its own.
This sometimes happens when the mother is lying down.
She relaxes the muscles that control the pouch and the joey tumbles out then hops back in again.
Over the next few months the joey will spend more time out of the pouch.
It will practise skills like hopping and jumping.
It also learns what to eat but will still come back sometimes and put its head into the mother's pouch to have a drink.
By the time the joey is about 10 months old, it is too big for the pouch and stays out all the time,
sometimes straying away from its mother to explore.
The mother will call to her joey if it strays away too far or the joey will call for its mother if it gets lost.
The joey gradually becomes more independent of its mother and learns to be part of the mob.
From the time when the joey first enters the pouch until it becomes independent, the mother changes her milk several times to give the joey the nourishment it needs at different stages of its growth.
When she gives birth to a joey, she can cleverly produce milk in one teat for the new joey and also produce another type of milk for her older at-foot joey who only comes back occasionally to drink from another teat in her pouch.