Keepers at Blackpool Zoo in the UK thought they were seeing double when they spotted an extremely rare set of Red-necked Wallaby twins! The two tiny joeys, which were first noticed by specialist keepers at the zoo a week ago, belong to a three-year-old Red-necked wallaby mom. They will remain in her pouch for around ten months, after which they will be officially recognised as being ‘born’.
Multiple births are so infrequent that the zoo’s Animal Manager, Peter Dillingham, has never personally witnessed twins sharing one pouch during his 39 year career. Although Peter has heard of twins a couple of times in the almost four decades he's been working with these animals, he has never actually seen any. They are thought to be the only ones in the UK and Europe at this time.
He said: “It is absolutely fantastic to finally see twins in one pouch and it has caused a real stir amongst staff and visitors here in Blackpool Zoo. It isn’t uncommon for wallabies to be pregnant and caring for two other ‘joeys’ at a time, one out of the pouch, one in the pouch. As soon as the one inside the pouch leaves another jelly bean sized baby makes its way through the birth canal and latches onto an internal teat until it is big enough to be seen.But to have two at the same time is very rare and we are looking forward to seeing them grow over the coming months.”
Read more about Blackpool Zoo's wallabys after the jump:
The duo are part of a huge baby boom in the zoo’s acclaimed Wallaby Walkabout, which is a walk through exhibit designed to let visitors get as close as possible to its residents. There are currently nine Red-necked wallaby males and 11 females at Blackpool Zoo, with seven of the females currently carrying a joey in the pouch and one caring for a baby that recently came out. Six red kangaroos can also be found in Wallaby Walkabout, one of which is a joey that left the pouch in February.
Blackpool Zoo has a long and successful history of breeding wallabies and kangaroos and it has housed both species since it opened 40 years ago.