Brookfield, Ill. — Things are really hopping at Brookfield Zoo—with wallabies that is. Three Bennett’s wallaby moms---Becky, Marion, and Talia—all gave birth to joeys in late 2020.
It is difficult to determine the exact date of a wallaby’s birthdate. When born, a joey is about the size of a bumblebee and weighs less than 0.03 ounces. Babies are born blind and hairless and migrate from the birth canal to the mother’s pouch without being noticed. There, they remain for approximately 280 days.
Becky’s joey, born approximately on October 31, 2020, spends the majority of its time outside of mom’s pouch. The youngest of the three joey’s was born to Talia around December 1, 2020, and has recently begun to emerge from its mom’s pouch and explore.
The third joey, a female named Whitney, was born November 12, 2020, and is being handreared, because her mom, Marion, required medical treatment. Out of an abundance of caution, veterinary staff determined it was in the best interest of both animals to remove the joey from Marion’s pouch.
Once Whitney is weaned from a bottle and more independent, she will be reunited with her mom and the rest of the wallabies, including the two joeys, at Hamill Family Wild Encounters. Until then, to keep Whitney socialized and active, animal care staff regularly take her outdoors to get plenty of exercise and sunshine. When not outside, she hangs out in a hand-sewn pouch that her caretakers carry while performing their tasks throughout the day. She seems to enjoy poking her head out and watching all the activity going on around her.
Wallabies, which inhabit coastal areas, woodlands, and grasslands in Australia, are marsupials—mammals best known for their abdominal pouches. There are more than 270 different marsupial species found around the world. Wallabies have a stable population in their range. However, they are sometimes killed as an agricultural pest and hunted for their meat. Fully grown, wallabies can reach up to 3 feet in height and weigh between 24 to 59 pounds, depending on the gender. Wallabies are hardy all-weather animals. In warmer temperatures, they lick their arms and hands, which causes their saliva to evaporate, cooling them off.
Those interested in helping care for the Bennett’s wallabies at Brookfield Zoo can contribute to the Animal Adoption program. For $35, a recipient receives the Basic Package, which includes a 5-inch x 7-inch color photograph of a wallaby, a personalized certificate of adoption, a Bennett’s wallaby fact sheet, and an Animal Adoption program decal. To purchase, visit www.CZS.org/AnimalAdoption.