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New marsupial mothers celebrate their first Mother’s Day at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

It was a very special Mother’s Day for three momma wallabies and their baby wallabies called joeys.

“It’s their first Mother’s Day so we’re really excited to have the yellow-footed rock wallaby mommas here,” animal care curator at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Heather Down told News Channel 3.

“We have one that’s still in the pouch with mom and you can see that there are legs and appendages sticking out,” she showed us.

The little joey finally decided to poke its head out while mom ate her Mother’s Day brunch.

“That little one is probably about five months old,” she said.

The two other joeys at the zoo are seven and eight months old and are already out of the pouch hopping around.

“They’ll still check-in and nurse from mom for a couple of weeks if not a month or two thereafter,” Down said.

She said this species of wallaby can be found in southern Australia and was once a near-threatened species.

“They were near extinction in the early 1900s and almost at the brink of extinction in the 1970s so it’s a really important species for us to highlight,” she said.

It’s the first year The Living Desert has these marsupial moms to celebrate Mother’s Day with.

“In the 51 years in The Living Desert’s history we’ve had many successful births but we’re super excited with the opening of Australian Adventures in this last year to have our first ever marsupial births,” she said.

Down explained that momma wallabies have a 30 day gestation period.

“Really, when you break it down they can be pregnant or with a joey 365 days a year so that’s pretty impressive motherhood by this species, pretty commendable which is awesome because that allows them to continue breeding in order to repopulate the species out in the wild,” she said.

Down said when the joeys or fetus is first born it’s a little smaller than a jelly bean.

“That little nugget learns to crawl up from being born and go into the mother’s pouch where it latches onto a teat where it’ll stay there until it gets a little more developmentally mature and then starts to grow a little more and then we start to see it as visitors and guests so we start to see that pouch moving and that’s the first sign when we are noticing that a mom is with a joey,” she said.

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Caitlin Thropay


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