Wednesday, 23 February 2011


First Joey peeking out Feb 2011Left – Image taken this morning of female Bennett’s Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) also known as a Red-Necked Wallaby – with Joey in pouch.

Despite the rainy weather this little Joey decided it was time to show its face for the camera this morning! Illusive as it was last week, there was no stopping the little fella today! I’ll wait for a sunny day for a better quality image, but I did promise that I’d share the first one taken! The Joey’s little bald head peeking out of its Mum’s pouch makes the Keepers think of a peanut – I have a feeling the name ‘peanut’ is destined to stick ….

As you probably know, female Bennett’s Wallabies often have three Joeys of different ages at any one time. They can have one that’s forming in the uterus (the size of a thumbnail); one that's a few weeks old and attached to a teat in the pouch (the size of a small mouse); and one that's about 9 or 10 months old, nearly weaned but hopping back into its Mum's pouch from time to time to suckle or when looking for reassurance. The female actually produces two different types of milk to accommodate the different dietary needs of the youngsters.

In the wild (in South Eastern Australia and Tasmania) females and their offspring only stay together for a month (although females may stay in the home range of their mothers for life while males leave at two years old). In captivity where they live in groups, that behaviour is obviously very different and a natural hierarchy occurs.

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