Wording of this Handout:
Strange facts about the KANGAROO
If you go to Australia, you will probably see a kangaroo. You might see a real one, but if you miss out, you'll see it on the postage stamps, the coat-of-arms, the coins and even its airline.
Why do female kangaroos carry their young in a pouch? Well, one benefit is the fact that she can go a long way looking for water without having a baby to wait for, and of course the pouch keeps the joey safe, and warm, and there's even a built-in milk bar!
When a baby Kangaroo is born it is only the size of a thumb nail. In the smaller Kangaroos the baby is as small as a grain of rice! But at this age, the baby is blind, hairless and deaf, yet it must make its way to nipple. This takes about ten minutes to get there, Much longer and the baby would die!
As soon as the tiny little thing gets its mouth on the nipple, its mouth swells so it can't let go, then the muscles along the top of the mother's pouch tighten and seal the baby in. Now the mother can hop about without the baby falling out!
Three months later the joey comes out of the pouch and tries hopping about in the world. It hops in and out for eight more months, until it is finally old enough to fend for itself.
Slow Down Mum!
Why do Kangaroos hop? One reason is because hopping uses less energy than running. The faster a kangaroo hops the less energy it uses, and they don't speed up by taking more hops, they simply take longer hops.
A Kangaroo's muscles act like the rubber in a bouncing ball. each time the foot hits the ground, some of the energy is shifted to the tendons and stored there until the next bounce. And what's even more amazing is the way the kangaroo breaths. You and I always need more air the faster we go, so we have to breath harder as we speed up, but the Kangaroo uses less energy when it is hopping the when it is standing still. The reason is because its hopping causes air to be pushed out of the lungs, so the Kangaroo doesn't have to breath with its chest muscles. Now that's cruising!
When the weather turns very dry, Kangaroos stop breeding, and when she wants a male or a female baby she can somehow get what she wants!