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Pittsburgh Zoo welcomes bouncing baby wallaby

  • By Glynis Board/WESA
Ava mothers her joey at the Pittsburgh Zoo

 Paul Selvaggio / Pittsburgh Zoo

Ava mothers her joey at the Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo recently welcomed the emergence of a literal bouncing baby — specifically, a red-necked wallaby, also known as a Bennett’s wallaby.

Wallabies, which look like small kangaroos, are native to Australia.

The childbearing process for marsupials is unlike that experienced by most other mammals – the as-yet-unnamed joey was “born” jelly bean-sized into its mother’s pouch in October, first started to noticeably peek out in April, and began hopping around in May.

Zoo staff are allowing the healthy joey ample time to bond, and so have not yet examined if the joey is male or female. Keeper Alice Becker explained it could be sheltering in and out of mom for a little more than a year — until it matures to solid foods and curiosity compels it to want to remain outside.

“Or as is more often the case, mom gets tired of carrying a giant child in her pouch, and so she kicks them out,” Becker said.

The joey’s four-year-old mother Ava came to Pittsburgh from the Cincinnati Zoo in early 2023.

“She has honestly been a really great ambassador for her species, both as, frankly, a very adorable, very social individual, but also as a successful mother,” Becker said, explaining that this is Ava’s third offspring.

Including her and her joey, there are now eight wallabies and two kangaroos living in the Kids Kingdom at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

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