1 November 2010
The Australia Zoo is proud to welcome 'Wendy the Wombat', who has recently come out from her mother's pouch and is now out and about at Australia Zoo.
It all started back in January of this year. It was just an average day here at Australia Zoo for most of the adorable furry residents. Meg was enjoying the different sights, sounds and smells on one of her daily walks; Laura was busy looking for some more luscious green grass to munch on and Tonka, the man of the house, was in his usual spot, up on the top of the hill, relaxing with one eye open keeping watch over the enclosure. Little did they all know Mini-Bus was down in her den preparing for the long awaited birth of her second joey.
Mini-Bus's keepers gathered around her den to watch on and make sure she made it through her labour safe and sound, however it would be at least a month or two before they would be sure whether she was actually carrying a tiny joey in her pouch!
Yep... tiny is right, did you know that most marsupial joeys are born about the size of a jelly bean? The blind, furless, miniature newborn, crawls across its mother's fur to make its way into the pouch, where it latches onto a teat to suckle. It will not re-emerge for several months, during which time it develops fully. Once fully grown, the joey begins to spend time out of the pouch, grazing and learning survival skills, but returns to the pouch to sleep and for safety if danger threatens. It was early one morning in March when one of our hard working keepers, Beth, was doing the morning rounds that she noticed some movement in Mini-Bus's pouch. It was then confirmed that the Australia Zoo had officially welcomed the ninth addition into their ever growing wombat family.
Several months passed and Mini-Bus's pouch was becoming noticeably bigger by the day. We started to catch first glimpses of the nearly fully furred joey and the sex was also determined - it's a girl!!! She was nicknamed ‘Squirt'.
Wombat joeys are estimated to completely emerge from the pouch for the first time at around eight to ten months, and only two days short of her eight month birthday, our anxious wait was over, Squirt was finally out of the pouch for us all to see.
The September school holidays saw stacks of entries in our Spring Babies Naming Competition from our visitors. Having sorted through all the suggestions, Terri, Bindi and Robert hand-picked the name for our newest addition and on 14 October Squirt officially became "Wendy". We're very proud to introduce her to you.
Now weighing just less than 3.5kg she is quite a handful, testing mums patience and when Mini-Bus wants some uninterrupted sleep or some time to graze, Wendy is quite happy to hang out with her keepers for some bonding time. Wendy is also becoming very confident around the other wombats and adventurous in and out of her enclosure. As many of you may know all of our wombats are harness trained and love going out on their daily walks around the park, especially Mini-Bus, and you guessed it, Wendy tags along as well. At this point Wendy goes on her walks wearing a tiny little wombat joey harness, but she isn't restrained on a lead because it's instinct for her to follow her mum where ever she goes. By wearing her little harness Wendy is getting comfortable with the feeling of having something wrapped around her and she will eventually associate it with going out on a walk, making it a positive and exciting experience. So next time you visit Australia Zoo, you may even bump into Wendy whilst she's waddling around the place and if that's not enough why not book a wombat encounter! You'll get to pat, touch and maybe even feed these unique native mammals. You will also have the chance to talk one on one with their keepers whilst one of our professional photographers captures your unforgettable experience.
So come and meet Wendy the Wombat at the Australia Zoo, but hurry she's growing up fast and before you know it little Wendy will weigh a whopping 25-30kg!
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