Waffles the Wallaby Comforts Kids

Animals can bring smiles and laughter to everyone, but they make special connections with children.  That was the idea when Zoos Victoria's Healesville Sanctuary sent Waffles the Wallaby to the Monash Children's Hospital.  Waffles shared a special moment with William, then went on to spread cheer to the entire ward.

Studies show that visits from animals like Waffles the Wallaby can make a positive difference for children in traumatic situations.  They provide a comforting presence, resulting in both psychological and physical benefits. 

Zoos Victoria includes the Melbourne Zoo, the Werribee Open Range Zoo, and Healesville Sanctuary, which features native Australian wildlife.  All three facilities are located in and around Melbourne, Australia. 

Photo Credit:  Alex Coppell/Herald Sun



Orphan Opossum Finds a Home at Northwest Trek

Baby Opossum Close-up at Northwest Trek

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, Washington recently welcomed a rescued baby Virginia Opossum. Hand-raised, the tame animal will join the park's Animal Trailside Encounters team, which allows visitors to get up close and personal with local wildlife handled by a trained keeper. 

The Virginia Opossum is the only North American marsupial that lives north of Mexico. When frightened, these animals often pretend to be dead (i.e. playing possum) so curious predators lose interest in them. While this defense mechanism seems to be involuntary, don't be fooled into thinking Virginia Opossums are defenseless: they can also be quite feisty when cornered!

Baby Opossum at Northwest Trek 2

Baby Opossum at Northwest Trek 1

What's a Feathertail Glider?


Meet one of Taronga Zoo's tiniest new arrivals. It’s hard to believe that this Feathertail Glider is too big for its mom’s pouch. It moved into the nest box about a week ago with its siblings. Australian Feather-tail Gliders are the world’s smallest gliding mammals. Thanks to their special gliding membrane, Feather-tails can glide for up to 20 meters. Their feathered tail (which is – Surprise! – where their name comes from) also acts as a rudder when they fly, thus helping the Gliders to steer. Although one of the lesser known Australian animals, the Feather-tail Glider used to feature on Australia's one-cent coin before it was taken out of circulation.


Photo credit: Robert Dockerill

Meet Swiss, a Little Ringtail Possum on the Mend

Baby Ringtail Possum - Swiss - Taronga Zoo

Meet Swiss, a tiny Ringtail Possum orphan being looked after by her new surrogate mum and elephant Keeper Bobby-Jo at Australia's Taronga Zoo. Swiss and her sister Miss both came in to care after a good Samaritan found them. Vets at Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital think Swiss fractured her wrist when her mother died, but with a tiny splint on her wrist, the two are doing well in Bobby-Jo’s care. Follow Swiss and other Taronga Zoo critters on their Facebook page.

In the wild, Ringtail Possums live in communal nests where they sleep by day and socialize by night.

Bronx Zoo Tree Kangaroo Still Needs Mom

Cuter than ever, the pink bundle of "Joey" we brought you in late December is almost all grown up now, although Mom's pouch is never far afield. 


The Bronx Zoo's Tree Kangaroo Joey can be seen exploring his exhibit on his own, as well as darting back to Mom's pouch for a snooze. This exhibit is one of the highlights at the Zoo's "Jungleword" attraction which offers year round access to tropical creatures including otters, gibbons, and a tapir.



Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Continue reading "Bronx Zoo Tree Kangaroo Still Needs Mom" »

Wallaby Joeys at the Kangaroo Conservation Center

Meet the Kangaroo Conservation Center's most recent arrivals: Soleil, Oliver and an as of yet to be named little joey born to mama Bindi. These are Agile Wallabies, Northern Australian and Indonesian marsupials related to their better known cousins, red and grey kangaroos. All three of these babies were born in the summer of 2008, but have been hidden in pouches for most of that time. For the incubator babies, a cloth pouch was provided.

Soleil and Oliver have a close bond
Agile wallaby joeys

A warm home
Wallaby in incubator

What do you think this baby Joey's name should be?
Baby wallaby joey kangaroo conservation center

Agile Wallabies are rarely exhibited in the States and the Kangaroo Conservation Center has the largest collection. 

Baby Tree Kangaroo Plays Peekaboo

My wife and I visited the Bronx Zoo during a recent snow storm and, to our delight, we had the place to ourselves. We spent a long time watching a mama tree kangaroo busy protecting her joey snuggled safely in pouch. While the baby kangaroo didn't emerge that day, we are delighted to share these new pictures of him and his proud mom courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Cute baby joey tree kangaroo

Check out mom's claws!

Matschie's Tree-kangaroo lives in the mountainous rainforests at high elevations, living alone or in very small groups, usually comprising just a mother, joey and a male. They spend most of their time in the trees and come down occasionally to feed. Like all kangaroos, they are are quite the hoppers and can leap up to 30 feet (9 m).

Close up cute baby joey tree kangaroo

Tree kangaroo with baby kangaroo joey

A photo of mom and another baby born earlier this year.

Photos by: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

"Wild" Animal Encounters

Spotted:  Interspecies conoodling at the San Francisco Zoo...


Photographer Susan Pettitt caught these kangaroos coming nose to nose with a wild squirrel just the other day at the San Francisco Zoo...


Meanwhile, at the Artis Zoo, A.J. Haverkamp comes through again with some heart warming photos of Dayo the gorilla baby coming face to face with a meerkat and her own baby...


Momma meerkat valiantly protects her babe, but we suspect Dayo is "meer"ly curious...