Diprotodonts - Kangaroos, Koalas, Wombats

Kangaroos restingDiprotodontia is the order of marsupials that includes kangaroos, wallabies, gliders, possums, koalas and wombats.

It is the largest order of marsupials, with more than 110 species.

A diprotodont has a pair of large incisors on its lower jaw.

The name "diprotodont" means"two front teeth."

The second and third toes of a diprotodont's hind feet are fused together up to the base of the claws. The claws, however, are separated.

When an animal has fingers or toes that are fused together, it is said to display a condition known as syndactyly.

Koala and joey (baby)Most of the diprotodonts that are alive today are herbivores (plant-eaters). Some species eat insects as wells as plant.

Many species of diprotodont live on leaves that do not have much nutritional value. They have evolved various ways of dealing with this.

For example, some species use less energy. The koala spends more than four fifths of its time sleeping.

Others have longer digestive tracts. This allows them to extract as much nutrition as they can from the food they eat.

Diprotodonts live in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and neighboring islands.

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