North Coast of NSW, Australia; August 2006
My mother lives in the Australian bush on a property on the North Coast of New South Wales, about half way between Sydney and Brisbane. She is a wildlife rescue volunteer and as a result often takes care of baby wallabies. Wallabies are related to kangaroos but smaller and generally gentler. Like all marsupials, their babies are called joeys.
Wallabies and other Australian wildlife are protected but sadly they are often hit on the roads. If it’s a female, she might have a joey in the pouch that can be rescued even if the mother is dead or dying. Humans can bring them up in a sheepskin pouch and feed them wallaby milk formula. When the wallabies are old enough they rejoin the wild populations.
Many of the wallabies my mother has taken care of become fully wild and don’t return to the house for visits, although she sees them around the property. But Twiggy, her first foster wallaby, is different – she has her wallaby friends but also likes to return to visit her human friends.
Above is a picture of Twiggy on the arm chair at my mother’s house. I love this photo – it amuses me that she prefers to sit in the arm chair, rather than sprawl out on the ground like other wallabies. I guess she likes her creature comforts!
In the photo you can see a joey in the pouch – her first one! And below is a close-up of one of Twiggy’s joeys (maybe the same one but I’m not sure). As you can see, it’s hairless and pink.
Female wallabies nearly always have two children at one time – one in the uterus and one in the pouch. Once the one in the pouch is big enough to fend for itself, the joey in the uterus will crawl into the pouch and the wallaby will get pregnant again.
If you go to Australia, you’ll get the chance to interact with wallabies and other marsupials such as kangaroos and koalas at wildlife parks and zoos. You might see wild ones if you go to the country or the national parks.
This post is my contribution to Photo Friday, a weekly blogging event hosted by Debbie of DeliciousBaby Journal.
Photos used with permission of the owner. All rights reserved.