Orphaned joey catch
Joey feeding

geboorte Bennett wallabie(© Helma van Dijk)

Birth of a Bennett wallaby (© Helma van Dijk)


geboorte Bennett wallabie(© Helma van Dijk)

Birth of a Bennett wallaby (© Helma van Dijk)


Bennett wallabie in de buidel 14 dagen na de geboorte (© Helma van Dijk)

Bennett wallaby in the porch 14 days after birth (© Helma van Dijk)


The main difference between marsupials and other mammals lies in the development of the young animal, both before and after the birth. The embryo is not connected with the mother’s body by means of a placenta or placenta, such as in other mammals is the case. After a very short gestation period, the young is born and it is still very small. The young larval remains only thanks to life in extraordinary care method of the mother: it remains the first time in her pouch. Only Marsupials have such a pouch. The name says it all the way, for marsupium in Latin means purse or pocket.

The relative size and the construction of the pouch vary in the different animal species pouch. At the carnivore marsupials, for example, the pouch is only rudimentary and it may contain up to eight young animals – for a short period of time. Other species, including the Koala and the Wombat, have a pouch that opens to the rear. Kangaroos are the largest and most efficient pouch. They have only one pup at a time and staying months in the pouch. There are cases in which a kangaroo got two joey’s at a time, but that is a rarity.

Since 1629, the year in which the marsupials were discovered, one has posited all kinds of theories regarding their birth and in our time, there are more false stories circulating about the birth of marsupials and special Kangaroos, then what other subject in the Australian natural history.



grijze met jong

Grey Kangaroo with joey


One of the most common misconceptions is that a young is born in the pouch and even people who come in daily contact with kangaroos, insist that this really happens. The theories about how this is going to work exactly, are numerous and sometimes very colourful and ingenious. It is to explain why some of these theories are so difficult to eradicate. One reason is that a pouch young, even when it is only a few hours old, becomes attached to the nipple so tightly that it is not then with great difficulty and serious injury can be pulled off.

After 1890, the circumstances of the birth of the kangaroo became known, but only in the first years after 1960 they discovered the details of this process. The stages are recorded on film and a film with the results of studies on the red kangaroo, made by biologists Dr. G.B. Sharman and H.J. Frith of the Division of Wildlife Research of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.



 Bennett wallabie( met tweeling © Helma van Dijk)

Bennett wallaby with twin joey’s  (© Helma van Dijk)


Bennett wallabie ( met tweeling © Helma van Dijk)

Bennett wallaby with twin (© Helma van Dijk)

The marsupials young come in the same way in the world as the young of other mammals, though they are cared for in a totally different manner after birth. The newly born young tiny, pink and helpless and it seems in no way the parents. The biggest marsupial, the kangaroo, at birth is a bean-shaped ‘object’ with a weight of less than grams and measuring less than one centimetre. Nothing in this young does suggest that it can become a giant in the seventy kilos and more than two meters.

After a gestation period of 35 to 38 days at the kangaroo (wallaby in 28 to 32 days) the young is born. It is less than a centimetre long and has eyes and ears. The hind legs and tail, which will later become so great, are only stumps. The front legs on the other hand are well developed. The female uses them to push his way through the mother’s fur to the pouch opening. The distance of fifteen centimetres lays it off without the mother’s help. It works inwardly, looking for one of the three not swollen nipples and take it into the mouth. On the fourth nipple sucking pup a year earlier still and it is therefore too swollen for the newly born ‘kangaroo larva’.

The young grey kangaroo grows slowly, slower than most marsupials. In the first six months after birth only betray a gradual swelling and occasional stir in the mother’s pouch his presence. If the pup is six months old puts it first its head out. Now it starts to get a coat, but his ears are still soft and flabby. This first look at the wide world last only briefly, because at the slightest provocation small kangaroo pulls his head back in the warm shelter of the pouch.

With eight months, the young covered with a thick, soft fur. The time comes for the first explorations. His mother put him out the door. The joey is still clumsy and stumbles over his own feet. But juggles quickly. He soon discovers that he has to start with the long hind legs. Every day he gets more confidence.


Bennett wallabie met joey (© Helma van Dijk)

Bennett wallaby with joey (© Helma van Dijk)

Did you know…?

… A female wallaby can create two types of milk at the same time? It may be that she has a young nine months old. This young, the pouch in and out. He still drink milk and eat whatever plants. In the pouch can even sit a new young. This is as big as a garden bean and drink but only breast milk. Both joey’s then get their own milk.

The young remain 6½ to 10½ months in the pouch. Mother and child thereafter stay, at least 6 to 12 months together.



Orphaned joey catch

What to do when a young kangaroo (joey) leaving his mother lying in the meadow? Or if a parent has died and the young alive?

Kangaroos are in stressful situations their joey soon throw out the bag. By cooling takes the young quickly weakened and the young can’t crawl back into the pouch on its own. It is therefore important to get the joey as soon as possible in its mother’s pouch. Ultimately, no one can better ensure the joey than the mother herself.

If the mother is still alive, it is important the young as fast as possible again reunited with his mother when the young is your strength. The important thing is that the young as soon as possible is warm again. The young the best on the belly under the jersey of the caregiver may heat up again. An electric heating pad can also function.



Bennett wallabie met joey (© Helma van Dijk)

Bennett wallaby with joey (© Helma van Dijk)

Capturing wallabies without stress

Also, wallabies walking by themselves in the transport box. The unnecessary stress of capture and handling the animals is completely unnecessary. Take a lock of 50/60 cm wide and about two meters long. Add to the end of the box at right angles to the corridor, spreading good hay on the floor so that the transition to the box is not noticed. The animals will walk into the box without any problems. Because the animals have not been in human hands, they will also once in the transport box are the same though much quieter.

Outcast Joey back into the pouch

One can choose to capture the mother. One person holds the mother the other then place the joey back into the pouch. It is clear that this operation will generate a lot of stress. Not surprising therefore that placing back forcibly is rarely successful.

It is better to get the joey regain strength quickly. Preferably within 24 hours. When the joey has been attracting plenty and it literally is again able to stand on its own feet, add it back in the pasture. The condition is that there is no stressful situation is present at the mother. Put the joey on the floor, preferably close to his mother and himself walking as far away as possible. The joey who now feel abandoned again will start making noises and awkward hopping around. These sounds will be recognized irrevocably by his mother. They will think for a moment and be with her young in a few jumps. They’ll even sniff each other. The mother then takes a right attitude so that the young without any doubt can dive into her pouch.

This reunion is completely natural and almost always successful.

Heat. When a joey in the pouch of his mother too long cools down quickly young. Itself it is not yet in a position to keep the body temperature at arrow.

For the adult Bennett’s wallaby is the normal body temperature 36°C for a joey (kangaroo young) this is 37°C. When the body temperature falls below the 24°C, the loss of body function will be irreversible. This body does not come back, this is so deadly.

If the body temperature Wallaby above 38°C increases, there has been hyperthermia (extreme heat).




Joey feeding

wombaro Roo Feeding Guide

Wombaro Roo Feeding Guide

Never use cow or goat milk!!! All milks ahead fingertips contains too much lactose. Give this NOT (kangaroo) to your joey.

Lactose is fatal for these animals!

Emergency can be for a short time if necessary use a lactose-free milk. The amount of milk will depend on the kind that is used. However, one might assume that joey has a 10% to 15% of its body weight to milk or moisture needed per day.

It is available specifically for Kangaroos/Wallaby’s milkpowder kangaroos/wallabies powder with the correct composition. Also, kangaroo and wallaby’s teats. These are soft long teats. They are well accepted by the joey’s. Because the nipples are very soft, no damage they can cause to the mouth. A good alternative to a dummy is the use of a bicycle valve. This is always better than forcing a dummy that is too big or too hard. In forcing too much you can save a lot of stress also cause damage to the mouth, with all its consequences.



Bennett wallabie met tweeling (© Helma van Dijk)

Bennett wallaby with twins (© Helma van Dijk)

Lactose = milk sugar. Kangaroo and wallaby- joey’s are unable to digest lactose (milk sugar, main constituent of the carbohydrates of the milk). The animals lack the enzyme lactase. This is an enzyme that normally ensures that lactose is split into two simple sugars: glucose and galactose so that it can be absorbed into the body. The body uses these sugars for energy.

If the lactose is not broken down, and thus will not be recorded it travels in the gastro-intestinal tract, where it ferments. In addition, it can enter the bloodstream. The blood goes accumulate and crystallize. These crystals search is a job to soft tissue in order to secure itself subsequently herein. Eyepieces have this soft tissue. The securing of the crystals on the lens gives a clouding with blindness as a result. If one stops giving milk with lactose will further clouding of the lens come to stop, but the cataracts extent already present will not disappear. Besides blindness causes lactose in these animals severe nausea, excessive gas and acid production, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.



Bennett wallabie met joey (© Helma van Dijk)

Bennett wallabie met joey (© Helma van Dijk)


The table shows a summary of amounts of lactose in different types of milk. Also, a comparison of other substances, inter alia, fats and proteins.

Monkey 3.9 2.1 0.6 5.9 2.6 14.5
Antilope 1.3 6.9 5.3 4 1.3 25.2
Bison 1.7 4.8 2.8 5.7 0.96 13.2
Buffalo, Filipino 10.4 5.9 0.6 4.3 0.8 21.5
Possum, Am. 6.1 9.2 1.5 3.2 1.6 24.5
Guinea pig 3.9 8.1 2.1 3 0.82 15.8
Dolfin 14.1 10.4 0.7 5.9 30.4
Donkey 1.2 1.7 1.4 6.9 0.45 10.2
Goat 3.5 3.1 0.9 4.6 0.79 12
Deer 19.7 10.4 0.5 2.6 1.4 34.1
Dog 8.3 9.5 1.1 3.7 1.2 20.7
Kangaroo 2.1 6.2 3 Spoor 1.2 9.5
Camel 4.9 3.7 0.8 5.1 0.7 14.4
Cat 10.9 11.1 1 3.4 25.4
Cow: Ayrshire Brown Swiss Guernsey Holstein Jersey Zebu 4.1 4.0 5.0 3.8 5.5 4.9 3.6 3.6 3.8 3.3 3.9 3.9 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.9 0.7 0.8 4.7 5.0 4.9 4.9 4.9 5.1 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.8 13.1 13.3 14.4 12.2 15.0 14.7
Rabbit 12.2 10.4 0.8 1.8 2 26.4
Mink 8 7 0.9 6.9 0.7 22.6
Elephant 15.1 4.9 0.3 3.4 0.76 26.9
Horse 1.6 2.7 1.7 6.1 0.51 11
Rat 14.8 11.3 0.8 2.9 1.5 31.7
Reindeer 22.5 10.3 0.5 2.5 1.4 36.7
Sheep 5.3 5.5 1 4.6 0.9 16.3
Pig 8.2 5.8 0.7 4.8 0.63 19.9
Wale 34.8 13.6 0.4 1.8 1.6 51.2
Polar bear 31 10.2 0.3 0.5 1.2 42.9
Seal 53.2 11.2 0.2 2.6 0.7 67.7

Sooner or later Lactose will be lethal to joey’s.