Australia is one of my favorite travel destinations. Its drama starts way before stepping foot on the continent with all of its notorious “most” things, i.e., the most deadly spider, the most fatal shark attacks, the most adorable animals. Australia has an allure all its own. One of those things is the kangaroo. Almost all people know that baby kangaroos (joeys) are born smaller than a teaspoon in size and can grow to over six feet tall, but did you know…
- It is widely believed that kangaroo moms can decide the sex of their new born. They usually prefer to have a girl (doe) joey first. Although I could cite various reasons I might do this, it is thought to be done because the mom wants companionship. Female kangaroos stay together in packs while male kangaroos move away within a year to start their own mobs (the correct term for a pack of kangaroos, not just unruly people).
- A joey nurses inside its mother’s pouch for seven to ten months with only sporadic, short, inquisitive jaunts outside the pouch before leaving to live completely autonomously. If, during this time, the joey gets scared it may leap head-first into the mother’s pouch and worry about situating itself correctly later (ouch!).
- “Kangaroo” in a direct translation from the Native Australian Aboriginal means, “I don’t understand you.” It is thought that Captain James Cook happened upon these animals during his explorations and asked the natives what they were. They responded with, “Kangaroo!”