Marsupials | Marsupialia

Marsupials are mammals characterized by the pouch the mother has for raising and protecting her young, also known as joeys. Marsupials are most commonly associated with Austrailia, because that’s where the well-known Kangaroos and Koalas are found, but marsupials, specifically the opposum, are also found in North, Central, and South America. Some species of marsupials are herbivores, while others are insectivores or carnivores. Marsupials typically live alone, except in the mating season, and the females will raise the joeys alone. Most marsupial mothers, expect for the Kangaroo and Koala, give birth to multiple young at a time. Marsupials play an important role in their environment: they spread seeds, pollinates, eat pests and vermin, and can aid the creation of habitats for other creatures by helping to loosen up soil for burrowing animals.

What do marsupials eat?

A marsupials’ diet depends on its species, teeth, and habitat. Marsupials can be omnivores, herbivores, carnivores, or insectivores. For example, bandicoots, Australian possums, and American opossums are omnivores, while wombat, kangaroos, and koalas are herbivores. Marsupials typically eat bugs, smaller mammals, birds, fruit, seeds, and eucalyptus leaves.

Why do marsupials have pouches?

Marsupials have pouches that are essential for the well-being of their offspring. After birth marsupials climb into the pouch and then latch into their mother’s nipple. The offspring continues to develop for 6 months inside pouch after birth, and receives the nursing and care required to later survive on its own.

Where do marsupials live?

Marsupials live in Australia, as well as North, Central, and South America. They are not picky with their habitats. They typically live in forests, savannas, and shrublands. Some species of marsupials live in desert-like habitats while some live in burrows.

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34”-40” | 86-102 cm
28”-33” | 71-84 cm
20-60 lb | 9-27 kg
10-14 years (wild); up to 15-17 years (captivity)
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24”-28” | 61-71 cm
40”-45” | 102-114 cm
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5-12 years (wild); up to 20-30 years (captivity)
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6”-8.5” | 15-22 cm
12”-17” | 31-43 cm
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2-4 years (wild); up to 5-6 years (captivity)
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22.000
43.000
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Numbat
11000
5”-7” | 13-18 cm
8”-11.5” | 20-29 cm
.6-1.25 lb | .3-.6 kg
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18.000
29.000
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9.5”-13” | 24-33 cm
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5-11 lb | 2.3-5 kg
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33.000
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Quokka
4’10”-6’10” | 147-208 cm
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Tasmanian Devil
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130.000
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8”-11” | 20-28 cm
14”-19” | 36-48 cm
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32”-58” | 81-147 cm
30”-55” | 75-140 cm
40-120 lb | 18-54 kg
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Red Kangaroo
Scale illustration of an average Red Kangaroo with dimensions for height and length compared to a human

The Red Kangaroo (Osphranter rufus), maintaining national symbol status and known for their hind-legged bouncing, is an Australian marsupial related to the eastern gray, western gray, and antilopine kangaroos. In addition to Australia, Kangaroos can be found in New Guinea, New Zealand, and on offshore islands. Nearly all kangaroos use their strong hind legs as the main source of mobility while their long tails maintain balance, even acting as a third leg at times.

Other physical characteristics of the Red Kangaroo include human-like and agile forelimbs, small heads, rounded ears, and protruding lips. When a young kangaroo, called a joey, is born, it crawls into the mother’s pouch where it maintains attachment for several weeks until becoming more active. Kangaroos can be irregular in their cycle of activity, travel in groups although seen as independent, and vigorously box as a form of defense against predators.

Red Kangaroos have a standing height of 4’10”-6’10” (147-208 cm), body length between 39”-63” (99-160 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 50-200 lb (23-91 kg). The tail of the Red Kangaroo is 35”-44” (89-112 cm) in length. Red Kangaroos have a typical lifespan of 8-16 years in the wild and up to 25-27 years when raised in captivity.

Measured pair of scaled drawings of Red Kangaroo in various standing poses
he Red Kangaroo (Osphranter rufus), maintaining national symbol status and known for their hind-legged bouncing, is an Australian marsupial related to the eastern gray, western gray, and antilopine kangaroos. Features include human-like agile forelimbs, small heads, round ears, and protruding lips.

Red Kangaroos have a standing height of 4’10”-6’10” (147-208 cm), body length between 39”-63” (99-160 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 50-200 lb (23-91 kg). The tail of the Red Kangaroo is 35”-44” (89-112 cm) in length. Red Kangaroos have a typical lifespan of 8-16 years in the wild and up to 25-27 years when raised in captivity.

Measured pair of scaled drawings of Red Kangaroo in various standing poses
Red Kangaroo
Height:
4’10”-6’10” | 147-208 cm
Width:
Length:
39”-63” | 99-160 cm
Depth:
Weight:
50-200 lb | 23-91 kg
Area:
Tail Length
35”-44” | 89-112 cm
Scientific Name
Osphranter rufus
Lifespan
8-16 years (wild); up to 25-27 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Red Kangaroo side elevation (standing), front (standing), side (jumping), side (lying down)

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Thylacine | Tasmanian Tiger
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Thylacine compared to an average person

The Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), now extinct, was one of the largest known carnivorous marsupials. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger or the Tasmanian Wolf for their canid-like traits and striped lower back. The species was native to Tasmania, New Guinea, and Australia, but the observations made of the animal were made when it was in captivity, and only limited, anecdotal evidence exists of the Thylacine’s behavior in the wild. The Thylacine had a stiff tail, abdominal pouch similar to a kangaroo’s, dark transverse stripes, and round erect ears covered in short fur. It preyed on kanagroos, wallabies and wombats, and birds and other small animals.

Thylacines have a shoulder height of 20”-27” (51-69 cm), body length between 39”-51” (99-130 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 35-65 lb (16-29 kg). The tail of the Thylacine is 20”-26” (51-66 cm) in length. Thylacines have a typical lifespan of 5-7 years in the wild and up to 8-11 years in captivity.

Set of standing side elevation drawings of the Thylacine
The Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), now extinct, was one of the largest known carnivorous marsupials. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger or the Tasmanian Wolf for their canid-like traits and striped lower back. The species was native to Tasmania, New Guinea, and Australia.

Thylacines have a shoulder height of 20”-27” (51-69 cm), body length between 39”-51” (99-130 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 35-65 lb (16-29 kg). The tail of the Thylacine is 20”-26” (51-66 cm) in length. Thylacines have a typical lifespan of 5-7 years in the wild and up to 8-11 years in captivity.

Set of standing side elevation drawings of the Thylacine
Thylacine | Tasmanian Tiger
Height:
20”-27” | 51-69 cm
Width:
Length:
39”-51” | 99-130 cm
Depth:
Weight:
35-65 lb | 16-29 kg
Area:
Tail Length
20”-26” | 51-66 cm
Scientific Name
Thylacinus cynocephalus
Lifespan
5-7 years (wild); up to 8-11 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Thylacine side elevation (standing), front (standing), side (sitting)

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Agile Wallaby
Scale illustration of an average Agile Wallaby with dimensions for height and length compared to a human

The Agile Wallaby (Macropus agilis) is a medium-sized marsupial that belongs to the kangaroo family. The Agile Rock Wallabies, as the name would suggest, live among rocks near the water and are characterized by their stripes and markings. The Forest Wallabies, native to New Guinea, are distinguished as the smallest kind of wallabies. The Hare Wallabies resemble hares in terms of their movement, having stocky limbs. Brush wallabies, found in the eastern parts of Australia, are most similar in build to larger kangaroos although differing in body and tail length.

Agile Wallabies have a standing height of 34”-40” (86-102 cm), body length between 28”-33” (71-84 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 20-60 lb (9-27 kg). The tail of the Agile Wallaby is 27”-33” (69-84 cm) in length. Agile Wallabies have a typical lifespan of 10-14 years in the wild and up to 15-17 years when raised in captivity.

Collection of scaled dimensional drawings of the Agile Wallaby in various poses
The Agile Wallaby (Macropus agilis) is a medium-sized marsupial that belongs to the kangaroo family. The Agile Rock Wallabies, as the name would suggest, live among rocks near the water and are characterized by their stripes and markings.

Agile Wallabies have a standing height of 34”-40” (86-102 cm), body length between 28”-33” (71-84 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 20-60 lb (9-27 kg). The tail of the Agile Wallaby is 27”-33” (69-84 cm) in length. Agile Wallabies have a typical lifespan of 10-14 years in the wild and up to 15-17 years when raised in captivity.

Collection of scaled dimensional drawings of the Agile Wallaby in various poses
Agile Wallaby
Height:
34”-40” | 86-102 cm
Width:
Length:
28”-33” | 71-84 cm
Depth:
Weight:
20-60 lb | 9-27 kg
Area:
Tail Length
27”-33” | 69-84 cm
Scientific Name
Macropus agilis
Lifespan
10-14 years (wild); up to 15-17 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Agile Wallaby side elevation (standing), front (standing), side (jumping), side (lying down)

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Virginia Opossum

The Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is a marsupial, and the only marsupial found north of Mexico. In the United States the Virginia Opossum is referred to as possum. Virginia Opossums are a dull gray-brown with the exception of their faces which are white. They have hairless, prehensile tails used to grab branches and carry small objects. Other characteristics are hairless ears, a long, flat nose, and opposable, clawless thumbs on their rear limbs. As omnivorous, the species eats a wide range of plants and animals like fruits, grains, insects, birds, and other small animals. When reacting to threats, the Virginia Opossum will feign death or “play possum”.

Virginia Opossums have a shoulder height of 8”-11” (20-28 cm), body length between 14”-19” (36-48 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 4-14 lb (2-6 kg). The tail of the Virginia Opossum is 10”-12” (25-30 cm) in length. Virginia Opossums have a typical lifespan of 2-4 years in the wild and up to 6 years captivity.

Dimensioned side view drawing of the Virginia Opossum with height and length
The Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is a marsupial, and the only marsupial found north of Mexico. In the United States the Virginia Opossum is referred to as possum. Virginia Opossums are a dull gray-brown with the exception of their faces which are white.

Virginia Opossums have a shoulder height of 8”-11” (20-28 cm), body length between 14”-19” (36-48 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 4-14 lb (2-6 kg). The tail of the Virginia Opossum is 10”-12” (25-30 cm) in length. Virginia Opossums have a typical lifespan of 2-4 years in the wild and up to 6 years captivity.

Dimensioned side view drawing of the Virginia Opossum with height and length
Virginia Opossum
Height:
8”-11” | 20-28 cm
Width:
Length:
14”-19” | 36-48 cm
Depth:
Weight:
4-14 lb | 2-6 kg
Area:
Tail Length
10”-12” | 25-30 cm
Scientific Name
Didelphis virginiana
Lifespan
2-4 years (wild); up to 6 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Virginia Opossum side elevation (standing), front (standing)

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Koala

The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), also known as the Koala Bear, is a solitary marsupial who inhabits the eucalypt woodlands, with the extent of its home covering more than a dozen trees. The Koala has a stout gray body, cream chest, large round head, fluffy ears, and a leathery nose likened to the shape of a spoon.

Due to their strict and selective diet consisting entirely on the leaves of eucalyptus trees, the Koala is left nutrient deficient. The result is a sedentary life for this marsupial, filled with long hours of sleeping and sitting exposed amongst the trees.

Koalas have a shoulder height of 15”-23” (38-58 cm), body length between 24”-36” (61-91 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 9-20 lb (4-9 kg). The tail of the Koala is .4”-.75” (1-2 cm) in length. Koalas have a typical lifespan of 8-12 years in the wild and up to 16-20 years when raised in captivity.

Set of elevation drawings of the Koala climbing and sitting
The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), also known as the Koala Bear, is a solitary marsupial who inhabits the eucalypt woodlands, with the extent of its home covering more than a dozen trees. The Koala has a stout gray body, cream chest, large round head, fluffy ears, and a leathery nose.

Koalas have a shoulder height of 15”-23” (38-58 cm), body length between 24”-36” (61-91 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 9-20 lb (4-9 kg). The tail of the Koala is .4”-.75” (1-2 cm) in length. Koalas have a typical lifespan of 8-12 years in the wild and up to 16-20 years when raised in captivity.

Set of elevation drawings of the Koala climbing and sitting
Koala
Height:
15”-23” | 38-58
Width:
Length:
24”-36” | 61-91 cm
Depth:
Weight:
9-20 lb | 4-9 kg
Area:
Tail Length
.4”-.75” | 1-2 cm
Scientific Name
Phascolarctos cinereus
Lifespan
8-12 years (wild); up to 16-20 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Koala side elevation (sitting), front (standing), front (walking), side (walking), side (climbing)

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