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Many works like to feature exotic animals, and nothing is a cooler way to introduce a weird beast than by using it for transportation. One unusual class of mammals with natural potential for transport are marsupials — after all, they come with their own pockets. And every so often, a character gets the bright idea of using that potential, and climbs into the pouch of a fast-moving pouched creature, typically a kangaroo. A few short hops later, character is safely at their destination, ready to resume the plot.
Given that a marsupial's pouch is something like an incubator for premature infants much of the time, and is very rarely empty of young, this trope means You Fail Biology Forever. Extra discredit if the marsupial is supposed to be male: the pouch is part of the female reproductive suite. In truth, trying to ride in a kangaroo's pouch would get a much more... squickier result.
Even if the kangaroo is indeed female and not carrying young, unless the intended passenger is a small Talking Animal itself, there just wouldn't be room to hitch a lift. And, if they are small enough to fit, the rider won't be able to get out unless the kangaroo allows it: mother roos can constrict the pouch's entrance to restrain unruly joeys. Wait, for some people that's probably... Oh....
- While there are no kangaroos in Pokémon per se, there are Kangaskhan. They are much larger and exclusively female. In an episode of the anime, they adopt and raise a human child who could easily fit inside the pouch. As could, as seen in the end of the episode, both the child, a baby Kangaskhan, and his birth parents, with room to spare.
- In all fairness, Kangaskhan are larger than kangaroos (7'1"), and they are fricking tough.
- And knowing how Pokemon reproduce, it's very possible that Kangaskhan's pouch IS meant to be used as just that: a pouch to carry stuff in (mostly just its kid, but it could possibly also carry other stuff as well), and isn't a well-disguised incubator like actual kangaroos.
- Even if it is an incubator, Pokémon hatch from eggs (yes, all of them, including every last mammal; humans are the only placental beings around). An egg incubator needs only to be warm, as the inside of the egg itself is wet and the shell acts as a barrier to less-than-convenient outside forces.
- Complicated further by the fact that all Kangaskhan hatch fully grown with "joey" already in their pouch, not entirely unlike aphids.
- Subverted in one of Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger novels when the intelligent kangaroo has a large, powerful, ill-tempered genie living in her pouch.
- In an Encyclopedia Brown story, a kid tells a bunch of stories about his travels around the world in order to secure membership in some sort of club only for Encyclopedia to claim he's lying his ass off. The "male kangaroo with marsupial pouch" mistake is one of the many errors in the kid's stories.
- Subverted in Sterling Lanier's The Unforsaken Hiero. Giant kangaroos are used as mounts in D'alwah, but people ride on their backs with highly specialized saddles.
- In Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit kidnaps Roo by dropping Piglet into Kanga's button-up pouch when she isn't looking (they're about the same size, so she just thinks Rabbit put Roo in for her). Piglet doesn't enjoy the ride at all.
Live Action Film
- In the children's movie Napoleon, the titular puppy is given a ride through the Australian outback in a kangaroo pouch.
- This early 90s song by a Dutch children's choir.
- A panel in The Far Side features Hannibal's first attempt at crossing the Alps. It involves his men riding kangaroos along the narrow ledges (with predictable results).
- Pearls Before Swine had Rat do this in an attempt to conserve energy.
- The Cartoon History of the Universe, when talking about the spread of Cro-Magnons throughout the world, shows a map including, in Australia, a woman riding in a kangaroo's pouch. The kangaroo looks a bit puzzled about this.
- Played straight in The Legend of Zelda Oracle Games with Ricky the kangaroo, who appears to be male. Of course, like all anime and Japanese game kangaroos, he wears boxing gloves.
- Happens in ~Yoshi's Island~ DS.
- Averted in Bomberman; in games where Louie is present, Bomberman rides on his back.
- In Mega Man X 7, one Maverick Boss, Vanishing Gungaroo, is based on a joey, and he uses a Mother Kangaroo-like Ride Armor, the cockpit being on its pouch.
- The nation of Jetstone uses "cloth golems," large, animated plushies, as heavy war machines. The so-called "Tankeroos" are used as mounts with this technique; justified, since they're custom-built for this purpose.
- Happens in the infamous Dr. Rabbit's World Tour as seen in many YouTube Poops. And somehow the kangaroo hops all the way from Australia to the United States without breaking a sweat...
- In Orions Arm, the Siberoo was engineered as a giant rescue animal in snowy regions. Females can carry passengers and keep them warm at the same time.
- Subverted in The Simpsons; Bart and Homer try to ride one but the pouch is full of slime. (How would Homer fit inside one anyway?)
- Seen in an episode of Family Guy. Peter climbs into the pouch of a kangaroo, but the poor kangaroo can barely move.
- Schoolhouse Rock, "Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla." The titular character gains a pet kangaroo and rides around this way.
- In The Wild Thornberrys, a kangaroo once allows Eliza to travel this way as a favor. It's a little more realistic since Eliza is shown crammed in the very tiny pouch.
- Futurama: Bender's Game had orc spear-throwers riding in giant war-kangaroo pouches. A baby kangaroo was hanging around with the orcs in the pouch.
- Happens with giant-sized kangaroo monsters in an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog.
- In the Looney Tunes cartoon "Daffy Duck Slept Here," Daffy claims that he has an invisible kangaroo named Hymie. Porky doesn't buy it, so Daffy climbs up on an invisible pouch and his disembodied floating head is seen bouncing all over the room. Even so, Porky still doesn't buy it.
- Bugs Bunny got "adopted" by a kangaroo in one episode who insisted he ride in her pouch- which had a zipper on it.
- On The Flintstones, Hoppy frequently gives Bamm-Bamm these.
- Johnny Bravo attempts this after thinking he got adopted by Kangaroos, he was too big for the pouch.
- Dot and The Kangaroo (and its sequels) had a whole song about it.
The best fun in the world/ And I tell you it's true/ Is to ride in the pouch of a red kangaroo.
- The mother kangaroo had lost her baby, thus leaving her pouch empty and she was elated to have Dot ride in it because it reminded her of the feeling of having a child.
- The World of David the Gnome did this once. It was either a kangaroo or a wallaby. (Of course, being a six inch tall gnome, this makes sense.)
- One episode of Danger Mouse had DM and Penfold being given a pouch ride by a male kangaroo. Due to the Cosgrove Hall animators sometimes being forgetful when it came to DM and Penfold's size, they were about human size in this part.
- "Fun Down Unda" — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrslKdGEJzw
- In Sonic Sat AM, Dulcy the dragon has a pouch for her passengers. Of course, Western dragons (and some dinosaurs) look a bit like kangaroos to begin with, so this trope is not limited to mammals where SF and fantasy are concerned.