“Sydney,” Journey of a Joey Wallaby, Part 2

Wallaby at 9 months

I’d like to be a joey wallaby. I’d spend long hours sleeping peacefully in a fuzzy pouch, stretch my oh-so-big feet upon waking, guzzle milk when I was thirsty, delicately nibble on hay and grass when hungry, hop-hop-hop faster-faster-faster at play time, and “huff” for my humans to give me some always needed attention and cheek rubs.

Such is the life of our little joey wallaby, “Sydney,” who came to Zooniversity last Fall for foster care. Her first month was a challenge, tough on her and tough on us, but she soon taught us how to care for her needs. At 9-months old, she has reached all the important joey milestones: how to leap in (and out) of a man-made pouch, how to hop at full speed without hitting walls, how to mess-up a play pen in less than an hour (stinky…whew), and how to intimidate the zookeeper’s terrier by hopping full-speed straight at him.

Sydney has also stolen many hearts. She attends almost all of our school and birthday programs and is now a seasoned traveler. She’s learned to pop her head up out of her pouch on cue to meet our audiences. She basks in the oohs-and-aahs and relishes all the head and belly rubs she gets from admirers of all ages.

She is a star, and she knows it. But stardom is short-lived. She is getting bigger. She is drinker fewer bottles and needing fewer cuddles. She is needing more space to hop and more time in the sun. She is growing up and, regardless of my protests, she will be a “big girl” soon and will be ready to be returned to her mob. That will be a new world, a new set of challenges, a new series of milestones. And, like any mother, I can only hope I’ve prepared her well for life in the big world.

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