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MarsupiLAMA

8.02.2007

As we were heading off to bed last night, I asked gene which wild animal he would choose to own as a domesticated pet on the contingency that it would be 100% tame and house-broken. Not a bad question for 10 pm, if I do say so. He answered that he was leaning toward a panda bear but that they are known to be very aggressive; neither of us want to get clawed by a panda in our own home. Therefore he would have to pick either an elephant or a tiger. I told him that the question was 'which ONE wild animal', not 'which two would you choose between'. Just kidding, I didn't say that. What I DID say was that I agreed that either one would be a good choice. But I digress.

What I want to talk about today are marsupials! In the midst of our fruitful discussion, gene and I realized that we don't know much about marsupials. And a google search of "marsupial + blog" yielded only this, so I thought I would contribute. Here's one:


Here's not:


We started to recall all the marsupials known to us...kangaroos, koala bears, etc. And then we couldn't remember any more, even though we felt sure that there were more. At least 3 more. I'm pretty sure I threw in sun bear and panda bear. (It was getting late.) Hey, don't laugh just because they're bears, a koala BEAR is a marsupial, so don't get crazy. But you're right - neither panda nor sun bears are marsupials. So now for the question you've been asking since you arrived at my blog - what is a marsupial? I'm glad you asked.

A marsupial is a mammal that carries it's young in a pouch, like this:


Unlike non-marsupial mammals, marsupials generally have a very short gestation time. They birth their young in an embryonic state and then keep them in the pouch to do much of their developing. There are other differences, but this is the only one that matters for our post today. I know how precious your time is. But it begs the question: What other marsupials are out there? I'll tell you.

Oppossums
(he's not dead, this is what they do.)

Wallabies

Wombats


Those seem to be the most important, er, I mean prominent ones. Now I know 'knowledge is power' and all that, but don't let this informative post send you off to find a marsupial pet. Because unless you live in Australia (and I think it's safe to say my fan base isn't quite that big), the only one you'll find is an opossum. And clearly they're the ugliest of the bunch. Don't let the cute upside-down nature of his photo above fool you, they have gnarly teeth. UNLESS you're searching for that objectionable 90's cartoon character, MARSUPILAMA.

As always, I will leave you with one image that really caught my eye...


No offense, Mr. Greenspan, I think you're a top notch guy. But whoever made this little piece of art is pretty funny. And it went so well with my post...

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  1. Blogger Katie said:

    Kelly, I feel smarter after having read your post. I believe I brought up the whole "koala 'bear' not being a bear, but a marsupial" scientific oddity with my students last year. This year when it comes up I will have more detailed fodder for our conversation. Thanks!

  1. Blogger Pam Pensiero said:

    How about a Liger? Gosh....I think they are the best animal.....
    :D

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