When we first think of kangaroos, it can be difficult to discern which family in the animal kingdom they belong to.
This is because they have a highly distinctive appearance that sets them apart from other animals.
Many reading this article may be wondering whether or not kangaroos are classified as rodents, because after all, they do have particularly long snouts and tails.
In order to find out more about this topic, and which species the kangaroo belongs to, keep reading, as we take a look below. Or, go see the kangaroo evolution.
Rodent, Marsupial, Or Mammal?
Before we go on to discuss which species the kangaroo belongs to, first of all we need to discuss these different varieties of species within the animal kingdom, and how they differ from one another.
This will help to explain why kangaroos belong to their specific family.
Rodents, as many of you will already be aware, make up one of the largest portions of the animal kingdom. There are an overwhelming number of species of rodents out there, and they make up half of the mammal family.
They can live in a whole host of different environments, and can actually adapt to live in most conditions.
As well as this, another family belonging to the animal kingdom are marsupials. Marsupials are made up of over 300 different species, and are entirely exclusive to Australia.
Some marsupials that we might commonly think of include koala bears, possums, sugar gliders, and Tasmanian devils.
Finally, we also have mammals, which many of us are most familiar with. Interestingly, mammals can encompass other categories of animals too, such as marsupials.
Therefore, some creatures can be considered both mammals and marsupials. There are over 6000 species of mammals in the world, which is a colossal amount.
They are known for typically having fur on their bodies, as well as teats that produce milk so that their young can feed and find sustenance.
There are three different types of mammals in existence, including placental, monotremes, and marsupials, which we will be looking at.
What Are Some Of The Key Differences Between Rodents, Marsupials, And Mammals?
As you may have already guessed, there are some distinct differences between each of these categories and the animals they belong to. Rodents actually carry their babies in their stomachs as an embryo until they are fully developed.
Marsupials however, such as possums, will only carry their young in their stomachs for around 14 days, their young will then carry out the remainder of their development in their mother’s pouch.
The pouch is one of the key differences that we can use to determine which category an animal falls into.
As we just mentioned, all marsupials will give birth to their young very early on in their pregnancies, and they will proceed to crawl up their mother’s stomach into the pouch, where they will latch on to a teat.
Rodents don’t have this feature, and neither do many mammals in the animal kingdom.
Another one of the differences that we can look at within these categories are the animals teeth.
Rodents in particular, have very distinctive teeth that set them apart from other members of the animal kingdom.
For example, rodent teeth never stop growing, so animals that fall into this category, such as wild mice will need to keep chewing on dense items, such as tree bark, in order to naturally wear down their teeth to stop them from becoming overgrown.
Marsupials will have more teeth than rodents, with several molars and premolars.
So Which Category Do Kangaroos Fall In To?
If you’ve read the top portion of this article, then you’ve probably already guessed that kangaroos don’t fall into the category of rodents.
Instead, kangaroos, like koala bears, possums, sugar gliders, and Tasmanian devils, fall into the category of marsupials.
They are known as marsupials primarily due to the pouch in which they carry their young.
After a period of gestation, the joey will be born and crawl into the pouch, where they will latch on to their mother’s teat. They will stay here on and off for around 12 months.
They also fall into the category of being mammals, because they have soft fur on their bodies, as well as having the capacity to nurse their young with milk.
The sub category of mammal that they fall into is called ‘pouch mammals’, with this being their most distinctive feature.
What Are Kangaroo Rats?
Some of you reading this article may have come across what are called ‘kangaroo rats’, which are small rodents that live in Australia.
They have incredibly long hind legs, large heads, and are usually brown in color. This is what has lent to their name of ‘kangaroo rat’.
They have adapted over many years to live in the desert without drinking any water for extended periods of time.
They can actually get all of the water and moisture they need simply by eating seeds found in the desert.
They can surprisingly jump up to 9 feet, due to their long legs that help them to escape from any nearby predators. They have many different predators, including owls, foxes, bobcats, and snakes.
They tend to live underground in burrows that they’ve made, to protect themselves and provide refuge. They spend the majority of their days sleeping, emerging only to feed.
To sum up, kangaroos are not classified as rodents. Instead they belong to the marsupial family, which are easily distinguishable due to the pouches that they have in the front of their stomachs.
They use these pouches in order to feed and nurture their young.
They are also classified as belonging to the mammal category, because of their furry bodies and the ability to produce milk.