Asked by: David Simpson, Bedgebury

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Newborn joeys, also known as ‘jellybeans’, quickly scale a wall of fur to climb into the warmth and safety of their mothers’ cosy pouch. This fleshy pocket is stretchy and slightly sticky, and opens horizontally upwards to lessen the chance of the young falling out. The pouch is hairless inside and contains teats that produce milk of different types to feed joeys of different ages – a clever adaptation to enable offspring to be cared for at different stages of their development.

Every now and then, mothers have to clean their babies’ nursery to ensure it doesn’t become smelly and unhygienic. They do this by licking inside the pouch to remove dirt, poo and urine – a true labour of love.

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Authors

Holly SpannerStaff Writer, BBC Science Focus

Holly is the staff writer at BBC Science Focus, and specialises in astronomy. Before joining the team she was a geoenvironmental consultant and holds an MSc in Geoscience (distinction) from UCL.

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