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KYLE'S KRITTERS: Make friends with this joey

1:47 PM, Dec 2, 2007   |    comments
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Of the two joeys, the zoo keepers are only sure of the gender of one of them.

Athena is the older cousin. It's believed she was born in April. It's hard to tell exactly when a kangaroo is born.

The beginning of life is really impressive for these animals. They are born underdeveloped and measuring maybe an inch long. Immediately after birth, the joey crawls up into the mom's pouch where it nurses and develops for months.

At about five months of age, it starts to look out of the pouch. It takes a bit longer for it to venture out completely on its own. Athena is pretty much at this stage in life where she has begun to venture out.

The other joey in the exhibit appeared in its mom's pouch in May and she still spends all of her time in there. It's hard to believe there is enough room in the pouch for an animal that size. They are quite the contortionists, especially considering this mob (that's what you call a group of kangaroos) is made up of Red Kangaroos. They are the largest marsupials in the world and are native to Australia.

A Red Kangaroo can reach speeds of 35 mph. It's also estimated they can jump six feet high.

The mechanics of their legs are impressive, especially the way they are propelled forward with each gait.

Kangaroos often lean back on their tail and box each other. That tail also helps keep them balanced when they're moving fast in Australia's grasslands or in their large exhibit at the Denver Zoo.

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