In the spirit of the upcoming Leap Day, I’m delighted to introduce our newest “leaping” baby – a tammar wallaby joey! You can find the joey and wallaby family in the Oasis at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
This joey, the name for a young wallaby, is only about five months old, so it hasn’t left mom’s pouch yet. Last week, our keepers were thrilled to see the joey peeking out of mom’s pouch. At about seven months, the joey should completely emerge from the pouch with a full body of fur.
This second-time mom is taking excellent care of her joey. You might have read about her first born, Ozzie, a couple of years ago. A wallaby joey is about the size of an acorn when it’s born and climbs into mom’s pouch by itself after birth. There it stays and grows for another few months.
The wallaby family has individual daily training sessions with animal keepers, and the mom still participates with the joey in her pouch. One of our animal keepers, Angela, has been working with wallabies at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for 11 years and enjoys these daily training sessions with the animals.
“My favorite part [about working with the wallabies] is training because I get to interact and engage with them. They’re very inquisitive animals, and I love coming up with new enrichment [for them],” Angela said.
Originating from southwest Australia, tammar wallabies face a decline in population due to land clearing, wildfires and introduction of predators, such as cats and foxes. The wallaby is also a popular animal in the exotic pet trade. As with all wild animals, wallabies take a lot of extra, individualized care, and shouldn’t be considered domestic pets.