Pictured above is the Santa Barbara Zoo's female wallaby Kalina, mother of the new joey. | Credit: Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo’s female wallaby Kalina has given birth to the first baby wallaby, also called a joey. The joey is about five to six months old, which is the age joeys typically begin to come out of their mother’s pouch. Bennett’s wallabies are about the size of a jellybean when born, and are then carried in their mother’s pouch for eight to nine months as they continue to grow and develop.

“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,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, vice president of Animal Care and Health for the zoo. “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 period of approximately one month, Bennett’s wallabies are born looking hairless and underdeveloped, weighing barely one ounce. The newborn joeys are just strong enough to climb up and into their mothers’ pouch, latching on and feeding from the mother, as they continue to develop.  

This is the first joey born in the Santa Barbara Zoo since the Australian Walkabout exhibit opened in January of this year. Other animals residing in this 15,000-square-foot exhibit are kangaroos, emus, and a variety of native birds. 

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