Homer: Yeah. There's a lot more mucus.
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 its embryonic infants much of the time, and is very rarely empty of young, this trope means Artistic License Biology. 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... 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.
- 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. Furthermore, as seen in the end of the episode, the pouch could fit the child, his birth parents, and a baby Kangaskhan, with room to spare. Kangaskhan are officially depicted as 7'03'' in size, but the Kangaskhan in this episode was easily 15 to 20 feet tall to pull that feat off.
- Lupin III and his right-hand man, Jigen, use this in at least one episode to make their getaway. Because how else would the world's greatest thief make a grand escape in Australia?
- 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.
- Minions: In their search of England, the Minion clan makes a short trip in kangaroo pouches when they reach Australia.
- In the children's movie Napoleon, the title puppy is given a ride through the Australian outback in a kangaroo pouch.
- The Goodies. When the Goodies start their own pirate postal operation, Graham says he's ordered several hundred kangaroos for parcel post delivery. This is an early indication that he's going loony.
- 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.
- In Deltora Quest Dread Mountain, the heros meet a small number of creatures called the Kin, large, winged, intelligent creatures whom were hunted to near extinction by the Gnomes and Grey guards respectively. After rescuing one of their young three of the largest of the Kin volunteer to fly the characters to the titular mountain in their pouches.
- In The Pride of Parahumans Aniya is a "rescue-taur" type parahuman with opossum genes and an airtight pouch on her lower body that can fit most humans or parahumans in case one's helmet breaks while on a spacewalk.
- This early 90s song by a Dutch children's choir.
- 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 X7, 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.
- Much like in the anime; when you allow a Kangaskhan to follow you in Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu! and Let's Go Eevee!, your partner will snuggle in the pouch beside the joey. The player character avoids this by hitching a ride on her shoulder instead.
- Erfworld: 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.
- Faux Pas references this trope (and the differences in roo gender) here.
- Not so much a kangaroo as a vaguely feline marsupial alien but in Last Res0rt Jigsaw's Robot Buddy Gangrel usually hides in her pouch, where she also keeps a Bag of Holding.
- In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures Jyrras is a kangaroo rat, his mother is a kangaroo and considerably larger than him. Guess where he hides when he gets scared.
- Justified with Adrian and her son Ali in A&H Club as they're anthropomorphic kangaroos.
- Deconstructed in The Simpsons; Bart and Homer try to ride one but soon discover that, unlike cartoons, real kangaroos have mucus in their pouches and can't accommodate anything bigger than their joeys.
- Also deconstructed in Family Guy. Peter climbs into the pouch of a kangaroo, but the poor kangaroo can barely move.
Peter: Come on ma, let's go watch Pooh trick the bees outta their honey by pretending he's a rain cloud. *the kangaroo collapses in exhaustion*
- 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.
- Looney Tunes:
- In the 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 gets "adopted" by a kangaroo in one episode who insists he ride in her pouch — which has a zipper on it.
- On The Flintstones, Hoppy frequently gives Bamm-Bamm these.
- Johnny Bravo: After getting stranded in an Australian wildlife park, Johnny gets adopted by a mother kangaroo, who puts him in her pouch when the herd moves, much to his annoyance. He actually fits fine, despite being an adult human who is a good deal more muscular than average, his main problem is that the jumping makes him carsick.
- Dot and the Kangaroo (and its sequels) has a whole song about it. The mother kangaroo had lost her baby, thus leaving her pouch empty and she is elated to have Dot ride in it because it reminds her of the feeling of having a child.
The best fun in the world/ And I tell you it's true/ Is to ride in the pouch of a red kangaroo.
- The World of David the Gnome does this once. It is either a kangaroo or a wallaby. (Of course, with 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.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): Dulcy the dragon has a pouch for her passengers.
- In The Fairly Oddparents episode "Nega Timmy," the Bad Parent Hunter, a parody of the late Aussie Steve Irwin, a.k.a. the Crocodile Hunter, rides in a kangaroo's pouch at the start of his show.
- In one episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Jackie Chan and Kid Sidekick Jade try to claim the Monkey talisman, one of the twelve talismans that grants the user to change themselves and others into the shape of any animal. A series of shape changing shenanigans occur between the heroes and Valmont's mooks, until Chan is accidentally transformed into a kangaroo and Jade into a rabbit. After beating up the villains in his kangaroo form, he puts rabbit-Jade in his pouch and tries to make a jumpy getaway. Considering that in a later episode, Jade used it again to transform herself into a maned lion, the talisman presumably alters gender as well.
- Laff-A-Lympics: One episode features a kangaroo race as the last event. Subverted because the only entrant to ride his kangaroo's pouch is Mumbly, who uses a mechanical kangaroo instead of a real one, which isn't against any rules.
- A 1980s Gumby episode, "Kangaroo Express," had an Australian equivalent to the Pony Express, where kangaroos carry small parcels across Australia in their pouches. Thanks to Gumby's portable Shrink-a-Dink device, Gumby and his friends can ride in one of the kangaroos.
- My Big, Big Friend: Bongo gives these to Matt from time to time.
- Dragon Tales: In one episode, Max climbs in his dragon friend Ord's pouch in order to complete a connect the dots puzzle while flying.
- Roo is sometimes seen doing this from time-to-time in Kanga's pouch in the various Disney Winnie-the-Pooh productions.
- On Rocko's Modern Life, the intro begins with the titular character as a baby being carried in his mother's pouch (fittingly, he's a wallaby.)
- In the episode where he goes to the laundromat, the washer he's using becomes unbalanced and starts hopping away, and he has to subdue it. It continues hopping along with him on it in this fashion, until he takes a baseball bat and destroys it.
- Puppy Dog Pals: Bingo and Rolly hop in the pouch of two Kangaroos in the episode Bob's Boomerang.
- Widget the World Watcher: In the episode "Widget's Walkabout" the title character transforms into a kangaroo and invites one of his friends to ride in his pouch.
- Although there have been no real life incidents of humans riding in marsupial pouches, the extinct Diprotodon (a sort of giant wombat) had a backward-facing pouch large enough to carry an adult human. A fossil discovery has placed this creature in the spotlight.