Why Kangaroos Are Not Spotted in India …and other interesting facts

Every now and then, a particular topic fascinates me. After learning some key facts, I try to answer a few of the burning questions that people have. This week, I’ve been thinking about marsupials. What sparked my interest was an article about a man in New Orleans who had his marsupial seized by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

The 50-year-old man, William Voiles, had raised his marsupial for an entire year, rescuing it as an infant and becoming quite attached to it. Named Saffron, it was part of a group of animals he owned, including a rabbit and two dogs. But on a recent day, the LDWF took Saffron away, leaving the poor man marsupial-less.

To be more specific, he was opossum-less. LDWF seized his opossum because it’s considered a wild animal and he did not have a permit to keep it.
Saffron belongs to the Virginia opossum species, the only native marsupial species in the U.S. and Canada. Australia, on the other hand, is home to more than 200 marsupial species, including kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and koalas. There are so many marsupials in Australia that, a decade or so ago, they started their own union, United Marsupials of Australia (UMA).

What distinguishes marsupials from other mammals, as you probably know, is the pouch that a female has, allowing her premature infant, known as a joey, to continue developing there. It’s similar to the wraps or slings that some human mothers use to carry their babies around, except only a few of these babies are called Joey. Perhaps the most famous Joey was Joey Tribbiani from the popular ’90s sitcom “Friends.” Not many people remember this, but “Joey” was the name of a spinoff series starring Matt LeBlanc. It lasted two years, from 2004 until that fateful day in 2006 when the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries seized Joey.

Now that I’ve given you a brief introduction to marsupials, let’s get to your questions:

Question: I’ve heard that kangaroos are occasionally spotted in India. Is this true?

Answer: No, kangaroos are never spotted in India. They’re always the same color throughout their bodies. Kangaroos are a fairly common sight in India, mostly because they have to travel to compete in cricket. But the cricket-playing Kangaroos are not the same as the wild kangaroos: they have pockets, not pouches, and they don’t always growl when their balls are tampered with. Wild kangaroos can be found in a few Indian zoos, and smugglers sometimes bring them into the country illegally. If you happen to see a kangaroo, I have only one piece of advice: please do not call the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. They will take the kangaroo into custody and you will never see it again.

Q: If a marsupial is taken to Mars, will it be known as an earthupial?

A: No, it will be called a Muskupial, named after Elon Musk. He’s the only human crazy enough to take a marsupial to Mars.

Q: If there are about 100 species of marsupials in South America, why is there only one species in the United States?

A: Scientists aren’t certain about this, but the prevailing theory is that marsupials have not migrated north because of the strict border policies of Donald Trump. But this theory ignores an important fact: Joe Biden has been in power for the last three years and America has still not seen an influx of marsupials. What’s clear to me is that the marsupials of South America are quite happy there, thousands of miles from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. They don’t want to migrate elsewhere, like the kangaroos once did. Yes, it may surprise you to learn that marsupials originated in South America. Millions of years ago, South America and Australia were both connected to Antarctica, allowing many marsupials to move to Australia. Kangaroos flourished in Australia—and not just in cricket. Today, Australia has many more kangaroos than people, despite immigration policies that greatly favor people over kangaroos.

Q: Is it true that a group of kangaroos is called a mob?

A: Yes, prospective tourists should be aware that many parts of Australia are under mob rule. Much safer to visit New Zealand.

Q: I heard that male kangaroos are called boomers. Is that true?

A: Yes. In fact, the phrase “okay boomer” was first uttered by a female kangaroo.

Image courtesy of Image provided

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