Lapbook and Research by Jodi Small & Natalie Sing; photos contributed by Jodi Small
or Carnivore Shutterflap
Playing Possum Book
Big and Little
All About Pouches & Pouch
Leaps and Bounds
Birth and Care of Joey
Koala is not a Bear
Wombat Folder &
Wombat File Folder (easier version)
Tasmanian Devil...MAD! for two students
Other Marsupials Flap Book
What Makes a Marsupial
Printouts at Enchanted Learning
What is a Marsupial?
Marsupials are mammals. Mammals are warm-blooded, have fur or hair covering their bodies, breathe outside air with their lungs, and mothers feed their young milk from their bodies.
Lapbook Component: Mammal Wheel
There are 3 types of mammals
Most marsupials live in Australia. The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial that lives in North America.
There are over 250 species of marsupials. The red kangaroo at over six feet tall and 200 pounds is the largest. The smallest is the narrow-nosed planigale, which weighs less than an ounce.
Some marsupials are herbivores, or plant-eaters, and some are carnivores, or meat-eaters.
Herbivores – Kangaroo, cuscus, koala, and wombats to name a few
Carnivores – Tasmanian devil, numbat, narrow-nosed planigale, bandicoot, bilby, and marsupial mole.
Lapbook Component: Herbivore or Carnivore Shutterflap
Most female marsupials have a pouch for carrying babies, while male marsupials do not have pouches. The pouches provide warmth, protection and a place to eat for babies.
Kangaroos and opossums have a pouch on their stomach that opens toward the front of the animal.
Koalas, Tasmanian devils and wombats have pouches that open toward the rear. This protects the baby from dirt while the mother is digging in the dirt. They have a special muscle that helps hold the pouch closed while they are walking or climbing.
Some marsupials, such as the antechinus mouse, have no pouch, but rather a loose flap of skin on the underside. The babies from the litter hang on to the nipples for about 5 weeks. When they are too heavy, the mother makes a nest for them to rest in.
Lapbook Component: All About Pouches & Pouch Purpose
Most marsupials are the size of a kidney bean when they are born, but they grow very quickly.
Lapbook Component: Kangaroo/Koala Size (you may want to wait and complete these books as you learn about each animal)
Kangaroos live in Australia and some nearby islands.
There are fifty types of kangaroos ranging in size as small as a rabbit to as large at 7 feet tall. Kangaroos prefer to eat at night and eat mostly grass. Kangaroos do not drink much, but get their water from the grass they eat. Kangaroo Diet
Male kangaroos, or boomers, fight each other for the female, or doe. Kangaroos live in groups called mobs, troops, or courts.
After the baby, or joey, is born, it is the size of a lima bean. It is carried in the mother’s pouch where it drinks milk to grow. Once the joey was outgrown the pouch (about nine months old), it can still stick its head in to get more milk. Birth and Care of Joey
Lapbook Component: Kangaroo Family Side by Side Book
Kangaroo’s use their tails for balance and also as a springboard for jumping great distances. The largest kangaroo can jump up to forty-four feet in one leap. Lapbook Component: Leaps and Bounds
Component: Kangaroo Facts
Kangaroos are shy, and in normal circumstances present no threat to humans. Male kangaroos often "box" amongst each other, playfully, for dominance, or in competition for mates. Kangaroo Behavior Matchbook
Koalas live in Australia along the eastern coast. There are three types of koalas.
1. Victoria koala
2. New South Wales koala
3. Queensland koala
The Victoria and Queensland koalas are known as southern koalas, and are almost twice as big as the New South Wales koala, which is from the north.
Just because koalas climb trees, doesn’t make the koala a bear. Bears have a layer of fat under their skin to keep their bodies warm, but the koala uses only its fur to keep warm. The southern koalas have more fur because they live in cooler temperatures.
Lapbook Component: Koala is not a Bear
The koala is an arboreal animal, which means it lives in trees. Because the koala has very strong muscles, it easily can climb trees and hold onto branches. They have small tails so it will not get in the way of climbing. The koala has two thumbs on its front paw to help grip branches. They also use their sharp, curved claws to dig into branches.
The name “koala” is an Aboriginal word meaning “no drink.” Since the koala is a herbivore, it gets most of its water from the leaves and fruit it eats. Koalas eat mostly eucalyptus leaves, but they do not contain the salt or minerals the koala needs, so they must eat other leaves also. Some eucalyptus tree leaves contain poison, but a koala can smell which leaves are safe to eat.
The leaves protect the koala from predators that fly and live on the ground. Eagles and owls swoop down and prey on them and wild dogs cannot reach them either. The trees also shelter them from the sun and rain.
Koalas move from tree to tree by jumping. When they have to leave their tree, they walk on all four legs. Since they prefer living alone, if more than one koala is in the same tree, each one says on its own branch.
Lapbook Component: Koala Tab
The common opossum is the only marsupial that lives in North America. It looks like a rat, but is the size of a cat. Its face is white and pointed, with black eyes. Its fur is rough and is usually brown or black. Their paws have five toes with claws. The big toe acts like a thumb and helps to grab things. The long, scaly tail is almost as long as its body. They use it like a hand and use it to wrap around objects. Opossums have good hearing, which helps them watch out for predators – owls, bobcats, coyotes, or hawks.
Component: Opossum Anatomy
Opossums live in wooded areas near rivers and will make their homes just about anywhere. They build nests out of dead leaves. Opossums will eat just about anything – insects, frogs, birds, worms, or garbage.
Most animals will not attack them, because they have a bad odor. But if they feel threatened, they will play dead or “play possum”. It will fall to the side, roll up its tail, open its eyes and mouth wide and let their tongue hang out. If the enemy thinks its already dead, it will usually lose interest. When the opossum feels safe, it will get up.
Opossum babies are so small, 24 of them can fit into a teaspoon. Once in the mother’s pouch, the baby attaches itself to a teat to drink. The teat swells up with a knob on the end so the baby cannot fall away. After 60 days, when the babies are big enough, they leave the pouch but stay with their mother. She will carry them on her back, even while hunting.
An possums is
different than a possum, but they are both marsupials. The opossum was named
because their tails looked so similar to the ringtail possum. Possums live in
the rainforests and coastal forests in eastern and southwestern Australia, New
Guinea, and Tasmania.
Lapbook Component: Opossum Facts
Tasmanian Devils are about the size of a dog, although females are smaller than males. They have large heads with short bodies. Females give birth to 3-4 babies at a time, which stay in the backwards facing pouch to keep out dirt.
part of Australia, the Tasmanian devils live in the rainforest. They prefer to
live alone. If a Tasmanian devil gets upset or excited, they will stamp their
feet and show their teeth, their ears will turn red and they let out screams.
In order to look larger to a predator, they will turn sideways and show their
teeth. They will move so that it appears they are spinning in circles.
Tasmanian Devil...MAD! for two students
They are not good hunters because they cannot run very fast. They will wait until another animal is through with its kill, and then will eat the rest. Devils are the largest living carnivorous marsupial.
Tasmanian devils used to be found in Australia, but were made extinct there by dingos. They are protected animals in the areas they are still found.
Lapbook Component: Tasmanian Devil Trifold
Wombats live in Australia and Tasmania. They are the largest burrowing animal. Wombats burrow under the ground to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The burrows help provide safety from predators. They will connect their burrows together creating a warren. Although their burrows are connected, they are protective of their own areas and don’t spend much time together.
The wombat eats mainly grass. They grind their teeth to eat their food. Their teeth are constantly growing so they will not wear them out.
The wombat’s paw is flat and wide, with claws used for digging. Their pouches open toward the rear to keep dirt away from the baby. Babies stay in the pouch until they can walk.
Wombat Folder & Report Paper
Wombat File Folder (easier version)
The numbat is a pouchless marsupial. Numbats are the only marsupial that is active during the day, or diurnal. They will spend their days eating and sleep inside their nest made of leaves, bark and grass at night.
The numbat eats mainly ants and termites. They will use their claws to dig into an anthill, or use their tongues to get into a termite home. They are sometimes called the banded anteater, because they have white and black stripes on their backs. They have a reddish brown body with a bushy tail.
Numbats are in danger of extinction and there are not many left in the wild.
Bandicoots live in Australia and New Guinea in plains, forests, and deserts. They have pointy noses, and strong claws for digging. Their pouches open toward the rear so dirt doesn’t get inside their pouch while they are burrowing.
Bandicoots eat insects, slugs, snails, worms, lizards, and rodents as well as berries and plants. They will dig holes with their claws and search for insects in the ground. Males defend their homes by biting and kicking.
Bandicoots are in danger of extinction.
A wallaby is a small kangaroo living in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and Tasmania. They live in grasslands, forests, swamps and rocky areas.
Wallabies can be as small as a rabbit up to 6 feet in length. Males are boomers, females are fliers and babies are joeys.
Wallabies chew cuds, meaning they swallow their food whole and bring it back up later to chew it. They drink very little water, getting most of their water from the plants and grass they eat. They are herbivores and will dig their own water wells.
Other Marsupials Flap Book