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Lynda Staker



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 In order to form a strong bond with your wallaby, the wallaby should be acquired at a young age, while on the bottle.  Carry the young joey with you as much as possible. The joey will learn your heart beat, your smell, and the sound of your voice. This is the bonding process. The more you hold and take your joey with you the more socialized it will be and less likely to be frightened at noises and activity in its environment.  I do recommend if you take your joey with you away from home to have a halter and leash on it incase it were to jump out of the carrier you provide.

 Bennetts are often chosen as pets because of their temperament and they are quite hardy. Of course they are more delicate as joeys out of the pouch and their care is much like a new born human baby at first.  They become more independent and ready to handle the world around them at just under a year old.  They grow to be about 2 1/2 feet tall and weigh between 25-45 pounds (males weighing more than females). They live up to 15 + years-old. The Bennetts are diurnal, or active during the day.



 As with any exotic pet, make sure the wallaby is the pet for you, the wallaby is only for people that are informed and ready to care for their pet. Always educate yourself and be prepared to care for them. Many people buy them because they are "cool" or they know someone else who has them and are not prepared for their needs, and end up not properly caring for the wallaby. They do require a great deal of love, attention, and special needs, they cannot be treated like a dog, etc.  You need to learn the behavior of the wallaby before adopting to know what to expect and how to interact with your new pet.

Find a veterinarian that knows how to care for a wallaby before purchasing.

  Check with local, state, and federal authorities on wallaby requirements.  Like most exotic-type pets, it may be different from county to county or even city ordinances, a permit may be required if exotic pets are legal in your area.

 Enclosures should be about 50 feet x 50 feet. Your wallabyís outdoor enclosure should have a fencing height of six feet.   Many wallabies are allowed in the house even when becoming adults, and have their outside area for exercise and sunshine. When the wallabies are outdoors, provide a housing of some sort so that the wallaby will have a place to hide in case of being frightened. 

 They adapt well to most climates.  In a hot climate, make sure there is plenty of shade and of course fresh water. Most like kiddie pools with water to keep cool in.  In a very cold environment, if left outside provide a housing which will provide warmth.  Wallabies love to sun themselves.


 When I pull a joey from mom's pouch I hold it as much as possible for several days.  They need to feel the security of being next to you, to get used to your heartbeat, smell, and body movements.  I even sleep with the joey next to me the first few nights then wean it to the pouch in the play pen.   Joeys at this age bond very easily and quickly.   They are very

loving and want your full attention 24/7.  I carry my joey with me everywhere possible to acclimate it to the world around it, the sounds and smells.  This will help it to stress less to adapt to noisy environments, be around people, and other animals.  Bottle time is a good bonding time between you and your joey.   The joeys I keep to raise, I bottle on the average the first year and a half up to two years of age to keep a good bond between us.  


 Bonding with an older animal who may not of been socialized or one who was not tame takes patience and consistency.   I have adopted some older roo's who were not social and basically not approachable.   I have a smaller pen set to the side which any new roo will be put in to acclimate to the new surroundings. I have chain link panels and put some form of boundary material around the bottom half. not only for it to see there is something there so it wont run into it and be injured if frightened, but will also make it feel a bit more secure being more closed in yet able to see what is going on beyond the pen. I find using burlap works good they can still see through it yet fell safe.  I go in and sit with it for sometime, not approaching it at all at first just being there in its space. 


 You have to remember a kangaroo is a prey animal it will instinctively feel you may be preying on it if you attempt to corner it or force yourself on it by trying to touch when it is not ready for interaction.  It will then feel threatened and fearful causing more stress.  Do not move from the back of the animal this is a threatening position - prey and predator - stay to the side or slightly toward the front so it can see you clearly and your are not in a predator position.  I do not keep a lot of eye contact, keep it in moderation.  A prey animal may feel threatened with too much eye contact until you are non-threatening to it.


 You first have to make it understand you are not a threat and begin to gain its trust.  This can take a great deal of patience sometimes and being consistent in your behavior.  It has to know what to expect from you.   You have to interact with each new animal on an individual basis.  Some may trust you very quickly and some may take weeks.  Don't rush it, be patient.


 If the roo is obviously very nervous or afraid, you may want to even sit outside of the pen or if you donít have a pen sit as close at it will allow you without hopping away and find something to do, read a book, etc.  I like to talk so it gets used to my voice, read a  book out loud just so it can hear your voice and become comfortable with you.   


 If you feel things are going well then, begin to try interacting with it, most will move away from you.  What I do is move slowly toward it when it moves from me then I know where the boundary is to their comfort zone and I respect it, I do not push beyond that space.  When it moves I move along with it but keep that same distance from it.  I talk to it with a soft voice.  If it stops, I stop.  I do this for a while and then at some point I move in a bit closer and see if I am allowed to close in the boundary zone, if not I move back to where I was.  I have found most times when I am patient at this and stay consistent in my actions it does not take long before I am able to move in closer.  You can at some point offer a treat and see if there is a reaction to it.  Did they show interest or ignore it?  If there is interest keep offering, even if they move that is ok when they stop offer the safe distance.  If they are trusting you they may make the move to come closer to get the treat, if not that is ok you have sparked their interest that is a step; toss the treat toward them to inspect.  They may sniff and move away that is ok.  Offer a treat again.  They will soon learn you are not a threat and they will eventually try the treat and you have then crossed a major threshold.  


 This next technique may be used to help when you have been allowed to move in closer and you would like to initiate contact with them.   This is a technique I have learned with TTouch.  Use a riding crop or any long skinny object.  SLOWLY, reach it out toward them, LIGHTLY touching them with the end of it.  They may move away at first they are not sure about this new object they are not familiar with.  If they move away that is fine allow them to, let a  minute go by then try again.  Lightly touch around the back stroking down the back and hind legs all the way to the feet if they allow you to.  This is a safe extension of your hand. they see you at the safe distance, they have at that point established, yet a part of you is reaching out in a safe manner.  As they allow you to touch with the object move in closer and closer as you are allowed.  It may not take much time before you are allowed to actually touch with your hand.  You will not seem so much of a threat at this point.  Offer a treat, most likely it will be accepted from you.  You are now forming the beginnings of bonding with this animal.  Be patient, donít force any interaction, if it moves away unsure, allow it!   Always start again at the point they had allowed interaction.  Once you are allowed to touch with your hand be patient again donít push for too much. You may only be allowed to touch for seconds at first, accept that and back off.   Always keep in mind the boundaries they set, watch body language, and be respectful of their boundaries at all times.  When I begin giving treats in order to interact with touching I make them allow some form of touch to get the treat. no matter how small it may be.  It wonít take long before they are more concerned about the treat than your touching on them. You may try a variety of treats to find what their favorite is.  One boy I had here loved a certain cracker snack and would do about anything to get it!  


 With some you may not have to go through what I described above.  If the new roo is just unsure about the new surroundings and does not seem fearful just cautious, you may be able to offer a treat and be patient for them to finally come and get it.  At first you may just toss a bite or two their way to where they can just pick it up.  Do this a few times and then throw it closer and closer to you to where they have to come closer to get it.  Wonít take long before they are almost eating it out of your hand in many cases.  I had one girl when she finally decided to try to trust me after seeing everyone else get the goodies and she didnít she came right up one day to get her share and in no time at all was nearly pushing the others aside to get what she wanted almost getting in my lap!   It took her about a month to come from her hiding place to beginning to interact with me and the others in the mob.  She sat and observed me interacting with the others all that time. I put her food where she liked to sit and left her alone knowing she was watching me interact with the others everyday. 


 I find this is a big help in forming bonds with a new roo, watching me interact with the ones who are bonded to me already. Most of the new ones I have had come here, this is the way I gained their trust the best.  They were very intent on watching me with Pippi, who is very social and very bonded to me we have a very good relationship and interaction with each other.  The new one was able to learn by watching us together that I was "safe".  I would bring Pippi into the holding pen and just sit and interact with her giving her treats and she would give me kisses, etc.  Lilly was a young girl from just in from. New Zealand when she came to us  It did not take long to gain her trust once I brought Pippi into her pen and interacted with her.  Lilly was very interested in watching us, then I moved with her and talked with her within one day she was allowing me to touch her lightly within two days.  She does allow me to interact with her but still has her boundaries to a degree which she knows I will respect.


 Another thing to also consider with any new animal is using Flower Remedies to help with the transition to a new environment.  If in doubt of what to use Rescue Remedy is always a good stand by.  This will help with stress, or fearfulness.  Just add a few drops to the drinking water.  It will not hurt them in any way the body will only use what is needed.  If bottling a joey a few drops may be put into the formula.  




Bonding with other pets 


 Pippi, my oldest girl, has been raised with domestic as well as exotic animals and has adapted to each one very well.  She was first introduced to the two dogs when she was a joey.  I would go out and sit with the dogs and hold her in her pouch so she would feel safe.  The dogs would give her kisses and she would watch them play.  As she became older I let her hop in the yard and she learned to interact with the dogs.  They never chased her and she was never fearful of them.  The dogs would run and chase each other and she would just lean a bit to be out of the way nearly being knocked over.  As more wallabies were introduced to the yard they learned from watching Pippi the dogs were not to be feared and did very well with them.  If dogs were to chase a wallaby the wallaby could go into fright mode fearful the dog is now a predator and they could actually have a heart attack out of fear or develop stress myopathy which can be deadly.  Never allow a dog to chase a wallaby!   Many wallabies have lived with dogs as companions and have done very well and have good bonds with them.  ALWAYS keep close supervision when first introducing a wallaby to the family dogs.  Never assume all will be OK.  Always keep a watchful eye until you KNOW that everything is fine over a period of time.  


 Pippi was raised with, dogs, raccoon, coatimundi, ring tail lemur, prairie dog, rabbits, patagonian cavy, springhaas, fennec fox, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, pot belly pig, llama, mini pony, goats, ducks.  Any new animal you introduce to your wallaby watch on how well they interact together, some exotics do not do well together as they mature, but may do well as babies.


 Much has to do with how young you adopt a baby and how much you introduce it to the world and socialize it. The more interaction it gets from a very young age the better it will interact with others.   Some animals do not need to interact in the same space at the same time, know their personalities, natural instincts and behaviors. 




Wallabies and children


 Bringing home a new joey can be very challenging if you have small children.  They will need to learn to not be loud, screaming, etc., this will stress the joey.  Most younger children cannot do this.  They cannot run and jump in the house when a joey is at the age it can be out of the playpen,  it would be too easy for a small child to injure the joey by stepping on it etc., which would most likely be fatal for the joey causing a traumatic death.   If you are considering getting a joey or older wallaby it would be highly advisable to wait until your children are older where they can understand how to act around a wallaby and have self control.  It is not worth the risk!  





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