Last Reviewed and Updated on July 24, 2022
With the animal kingdom being as diverse as it is, there are many ways animals reproduce. Some lay eggs, some give birth to live young, some species do both, and some species even reproduce by cloning themselves. Let’s take a closer look at a reproduction of kangaroos and answer the question; do kangaroos lay eggs or give live births?
What are kangaroos?
Kangaroos are mammals native to Australia and New Guinea. They are a part of a group of animals known as marsupials, one of the most distinctive features of this group being the pouch in which they carry their young.
Some other traits that make this amazing animal stand out from many others are their powerful hind legs that are adapted for leaping and their strong tail, which they use for balance, and sometimes as a third leg.
There are four different species of kangaroos.
Also, read our list of facts about kangaroos.
Do kangaroos lay eggs or give live births?
In general, mammals don’t lay eggs, but as there are always exceptions to rules, like the platypus, for example, this is a great question to explore. Not to mention most egg-laying mammals can be found in Australia and in New Guinea.
The kangaroo, however, does not lay eggs but gives birth to live young. But their reproduction is a bit more complicated than that of most mammal species. And the egg with a shell membrane and yolk, much like egg-yolk, is included, so do read on!
A female kangaroo sheds an egg from their ovary. This egg has a super thin shell membrane and a tiny yolk. The egg then moves to the fallopian tube, where it gets fertilized after the male and female kangaroo mate.
The fertilized egg embeds itself in the wall of the female kangaroo’s uterus. Now with humans and most other mammals, a connection between the fertilized egg and placenta forms (umbilical cord), but this is not the case in kangaroos.
The embryo gets its nutrients from this yolk sac. Once the yolk is consumed, the baby kangaroo is born (in about a month). A female kangaroo gives live birth.
The baby kangaroo is born underdeveloped and about the size of a jelly bean. It is blind and hairless. The hind legs aren’t fully developed – they are stumps. The front limbs are more developed, and the baby uses the front limbs to climb through the fur to reach the pouch. This only takes a few minutes.
Once the baby kangaroo reaches the pouch, it will attach itself to a teat and start to eat. It will take almost 200 days for the baby to be sufficiently developed to fully emerge from the pouch.