Source: Santa Barbara Zoo
The Santa Barbara Zoo’s female wallaby Kalina has given birth to the Zoo’s first baby wallaby. This is the first joey for Kalina, whose name was chosen earlier this year through a public naming contest. Bennett’s wallabies are born about the size of a jellybean and are then carried in their mother’s pouch for eight to nine months as they continue to grow and develop. The young wallaby is approximately five to six months old, which is the age that joeys typically begin exploring life outside the mother’s pouch.
“We are very excited about the arrival of our first wallaby joey, and we’re now seeing it start to pop its head out of the pouch,” shared Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s VP of Animal Care & Health. “You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the joey’s head or legs hanging out of Kalina’s pouch and if you look closely at her pouch, you will notice a lot of movement as the joey is now very active inside there. It will still be a while before the joey is ready to come all the way out of the pouch and spend time exploring the habitat with Kalina and it will continue to hop in and out of the pouch until it is about one year old.”
After a short gestation of approximately one month, Bennett’s wallabies are born looking embryonic and weighing barely one ounce. The newborn joeys are hairless and underdeveloped but have strong enough forelimbs to climb up and into their mothers’ pouch. The single newborn then latches on and feeds from the mother, and continues to develop.
The Bennett’s wallaby is a medium-sized marsupial found along the eastern coast of Australia and on the island of Tasmania. Adults can weigh between 30 and 40 pounds and stand about three feet tall, with males being slightly larger than females. Their native habitat ranges from eucalyptus forests to open areas adjacent to forests.
The Santa Barbara Zoo’s new Australian Walkabout recently opened in January of this year and features a 15,000 square-foot habitat designed to transport guests “Down Under,” where they can walk among the wallabies, kangaroos, emus, see native birds, and develop a deeper understanding of and connection to wildlife conservation.
The public can also help support the new baby wallaby by becoming a Foster Feeder! A donation of $50+ helps with the cost of feeding the growing wallaby family. For information or to become a Foster Feeder, https://sbzoo.pivvit.com/bennetts-wallaby. Special thanks to Wallaby Premier Foster Feeders Karen Anderson Harris, sponsor of Zena, and Jersey Mike’s Subs, sponsor of “JZ Mike.”
The Australian Walkabout is free with Zoo admission, no additional reservations are required. Online tickets purchased in advance are currently required for ALL guests, including Santa Barbara Zoo Members (member tickets are free of charge). For reservations click here.