Franklin Park Zoo has a new addition - a Red Kangaroo joey! The joey is approximately six months old and began to poke its head out of its mother’s pouch a few weeks ago. Kangaroo babies are born after a very short 30 to 35 day gestation and are about the size of a jelly bean. Joeys begin to emerge from the pouch for short periods at around 190 days. They will feed from the mother for up to a year, but at about eight months will start to try solid food.
The joey, whose sex is not yet known, was born to mother Skippy, age 6, and father Binowee (an Aboriginal word meaning “green place”), age 4. The birth marks the first joey at Franklin Park Zoo since 2005.
The kangaroos can be seen on exhibit in the Outback Trail if there is no precipitation and it is 40 degrees or above.
Kangaroos can reach speeds of more than 30 mph but usually travel at under 15 mph. They are common and found all over Australia, even in the driest parts. These animals usually time their births around the rainy season, which might be very short. As an adaptation for this sometimes very harsh environment, they can have many joeys at different life stages. A mother can have a fetus in the womb, one attached to a nipple still developing and one out of the pouch but still feeding. The breasts can produce different qualities of milk depending upon the joey’s stage of life.