DE
15.01.15

Newly hopped into the world

A curious little joey is hopping with excitement in the agile wallaby enclosure at Hellabrunn Zoo. Only a few days ago, the newborn wallaby left its mother’s protective pouch for the first time.

Copyright Tierpark Hellabrunn/Sebastian Widmann

Copyright Tierpark Hellabrunn/Sebastian Widmann

Copyright Tierpark Hellabrunn/Sebastian Widmann

Copyright Tierpark Hellabrunn/Sebastian Widmann

The little joey hops five metres away from mama, and then straight back to her. This is accomplished without any concern. As a reward, the mini-marsupial receives a sip of milk from mama: the baby wallaby moves close to Mama Nina (almost 2 years), places its head inside her pouch and suckles with satisfaction.

The father of the youngest member of the group of twelve agile wallabies at Hellabrunn is the three-and-a-half-year-old Lütje, who has now conceived six offspring (including Paula). The parents of the newborn wallaby, Nina and Lütje, were both born and raised in Munich. Agile wallabies originate from Australia and New Guinea. In Germany, this species of wallaby can only be found at the zoo in Munich.

"The baby born on 7 January to agile wallaby parents Nina and Lütje is a girl and she has already got a name: Paula," says Zoo Director Rasem Baban, revealing the sex of the joey. "She is approximately 25 cm tall and only weighs a little more than a kilo." Adult males can grow up to 85 cm tall.

Unlike humans, agile wallabies do not spend nine months in the womb. Their birth takes place in two stages: A female wallaby gives birth to a relatively undeveloped offspring after about 33 days. At birth, the joey is about the size of a gummy bear and weighs only one gram as it climbs from the urogenital opening into the mother's pouch. The tiny embryo is deaf, blind and completely hairless. It therefore relies on its sense of smell to find its way to one of the teats inside its mother's pouch. Once it has found a milk source, it will attach itself to the teat for about two to three months. The baby wallaby will first begin to peek out of the mother's pouch at around five months. At about six months, the joey will leave the pouch for the first time. By the age of eight months, it will no longer be able to fit inside it, but will continue to suckle for another half a year.