Do Male Kangaroos Have Pouches?

One of the cutest images in nature is where a baby kangaroo (otherwise known as a Joey) is poking its head out of its mother’s pouch.

These adorable animals have become one of the most recognizable marsupial mammals in the world, so naturally then when people discover what a marsupial is there are a number of questions raised. 

Do Male Kangaroos Have Pouches?

One of the most popular questions asked about Kangaroos especially is whether or not the male kangaroos have pouches.

Some male marsupials out there have pouches to carry their young, so the question about whether a male kangaroo can have a pouch is completely valid. 

So, if you’re interested in finding out if male kangaroos can have pouches, then read through our guide to find out everything you need to know about kangaroos and their pouches!

Can A Male Kangaroo Have A Pouch?

Unlike some male marsupials, such as Water Opossums, which can have a pouch, male kangaroos do not have a pouch at all, and there are various reasons why they don’t develop a pouch, even after their young have been born. 

Initially, no kangaroos have a pouch, whether they are male or female.

Their pouches only develop in females in the first few months once their young have been born, and the young will remain there as they wean off the mother. 

Why Don’t Male Kangaroos Have A Pouch?

Unlike some animals, or mate for life, the male kangaroos play no part in the raising or care of their young, so once the male and female kangaroos have mated, there is zero bond or fatherly instinct.

Once born, the Joey will make its way from the birth canal to the pouch of its mother, where it will remain by connecting itself to one of her teats, this means that the Joey has consistent and safe access to all of the nourishment it needs to grow and develop properly. 

Aside from not having a pouch, male kangaroos also don’t have any teats, so they can’t feed the young they produce either, so with no teats, there’s no need for them to have a pouch for their young whatsoever. 

When a joey leaves the pouch for the first time, they already have a decent amount of independence, and being in a hypothetical male’s pouch would provide it with no additional benefits.

So once the joey is able to move around on its own, then it will likely leave the pouch for the first time!

The pouch then becomes a form of safety for the young, so if there is danger nearby, they are able to jump into the pouch and escape easily with their mother. 

Female kangaroos will only give birth to more young ones once their initial joey has left its pouch entirely, so they will never have more than one joey per pouch. 

In comparison, male kangaroos have been known to mate with up to several female kangaroos at a time, so perhaps it is best that they don’t have a pouch themselves, or there’d be a lot of competition for a spot!

So when it comes to raising and taking care of the joeys, this job is one entirely for the female kangaroos to handle. 

What Do Male Kangaroos Have Instead? 

Typically the pouch would be found on the abdominal area of the female kangaroo, and would form as a sort of opening, however, this isn’t present at all for a male kangaroo, so what do they have instead?

Well, there’s nothing that replaces the teats or pouch in the abdominal area of the male kangaroo, however underneath that, between its legs, the male kangaroo’s testicles should be clearly present.

In fact, aside from the body size of the kangaroo itself, checking to see whether or not the kangaroo you’re looking at has testicles is the easiest way for you to discern whether or not the kangaroo is male or female. 

Do Any Male Marsupials Have Pouches?

Kangaroos are just one of the many species of marsupials out there, other marsupials you may know of include wallabies, wombats, opossums, koalas, and Tasmanian devils. In total, there are 320 known species of marsupials alive today!

And when it comes to having a pouch, kangaroos are joined by the majority of other marsupials that are out there, as none of the male marsupials have a pouch at all.

Just like kangaroos, the females of the other marsupial species are the ones that have the pouch in order to carry, protect, and nourish their young. 

There is, however, a single species in the marsupial family where the males do have a pouch though, and that’s the water opossum. 

However, it is worth noting that male water opossums don’t have pouches for the same reasons that the females do though!

Instead of using their pouch to carry their young to protect or feed them, they instead use their pouch to help carry or protect their genitals as they swim!

This is because as they swim, it could be possible for their genitalia to get tangled up in vegetation that might be in or around the water, so they use their pouch in order to protect themselves as they swim. 

So really, no marsupial males ever have a pouch in the same way that a female does, as it is mainly up to the female of the species to look after and care for the younger, as the father’s job is just to continue breeding instead. 

Conclusion

To conclude, although it is a popular question that surrounds male kangaroos, the answer is that no, male kangaroos do not have a pouch at all, and no male marsupials have a pouch with the same use that a marsupial female’s pouch does, as it’s solely down to her to protect and raise the young from the second they’re born and until they are developed enough! 

Olivia Kepner