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G’day, from the Petting Zoo!

by Creation Museum on September 29, 2009

Skippy has a new mate, another Bennett’s Wallaby joey. Her name is Susie and she’s a beaut! She arrived two weeks ago and is settling in quite nicely. Both wallabies are already enjoying each other’s company, as wallabies are fairly social creatures. In the bush, they live together in large groups called mobs. Wallabies are easily confused with kangaroos, and for good reason. Both wallabies and kangaroos are members of the same animal kind, inclusive of the family Macropodidae, literally meaning “big foot.” There are numerous designated species of macropods, and the terms wallaby, wallaroo, and kangaroo are ascribed based on loosely-defined size classes, with wallabies as the smallest and kangaroos as the largest.

Macropods live all across Australia and New Zealand. Bennett’s Wallabies, also known as Red-Necked Wallabies, are Taswegian, roaming Australia’s island state of Tasmania (or Apple Isle, as it’s often called). Wallabies live about 15 years, and since marsupials usually grow a bit slower than most similarly-sized eutherians (i.e., placental mammals), they aren’t considered fully-grown until around three years of age. This means Susie and Skippy still have roughly two more years for growth! At full size, our wallabies will stand about three feet high (91 cm) and weigh 35 to 50 pounds (16–23 kg). Wallabies, like rabbits, are most active at dawn and at dusk, avoiding the intense outback heat during the hottest time of day. With the exception of the pads on their feet, wallabies do not have sweat glands, so to help regulate their body temperature they often lick their wrists.

Susie and Skippy are very close in age—they were both born in October of 2008. You will notice that Susie is larger than Skippy. This is partly because Susie stayed in her mum’s pouch much longer than Skippy. Although it is common to bottle feed wallabies intended for close contact with people, Skippy was bottle-fed from an atypically young age. This is because when he was just five months old, Skippy’s mum rejected him, denying him her milk and warm pouch for sleeping in. Poor little bloke! However, this worked out just fine since Skippy is now very healthy and exceptionally friendly with people. Susie is not quite so outgoing, but our zoo staff is working with her daily so that she’ll interact better with people.

Thanks for reading and we all hope to see you soon at the zoo! Hoo-roo!

Creation Museum Petting Zoo Keepers