A tiny Red Kangaroo abandoned by her mother has another shot at life thanks to the dedication of Brevard Zoo’s animal care team.
The as-yet-unnamed female, who is approximately five months old, was discovered out of her mother's pouch on Monday, January 23. She was likely ejected from the pouch due to stress from a storm the night prior. After several unsuccessful attempts to reunite the joey with her mother Jacie, animal care managers made the decision to raise the joey by hand. This joey is Jacie’s fifth baby.
“Red Kangaroos don’t start emerging from the pouch until they’re about seven months old,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “We think this joey is five months old, so the situation is still very precarious.”
Keepers feed the joey every four hours, day and night, and weigh her once per day.
Joeys are born after a 33-day gestation and complete their development in the pouch, fully emerging for the first time at seven months. At that time, the joey begins to nibble grass and leaves, but returns to the pouch to nurse until it is about a year old.
Red Kangaroos are found only in Australia and are the largest of all the world’s marsupials (pouched mammals). They inhabit Australia’s arid interior and can survive on very small amounts of water. Red Kangaroos stand more than six feet tall and weigh well over 150 pounds. The species is not currently under threat.