Baby Animals

Pouch Peek-a-Boo: The Living Desert's New Baby Debuts

The yellow-footed rock wallaby has been seen peering out from its mother's pouch.

The Living Desert

Finding an early window to the world is one of the most thrilling adventures a tot can undertake.

It might a literal window, like the window of your first bedroom, that provides you a wider view of things.

It could be an important book that serves as your initial window, or a family member who helps you see the broader possibilities of life.

But for a little yellow-footed wallaby baby living in Palm Desert? Its mother's pouch is serving that wonderful and important role at the moment.

The Living Zoo and Gardens just shared adorable pictures, and a video, of the joey's pouch-based look out at the world. Mother Prissy and father Marstey are both first-time parents, making the arrival in the zoo's Australian Adventures section extra special for keepers and guests alike.

"We are so excited to finally meet our new wallaby joey," said RoxAnna Breitigan, Director of Animal Care.

"We’ve seen it moving around in mom’s pouch for a few weeks and have been eager to see the joey’s face emerge. We estimate the joey was born mid-May and is now about four months old with its eyes open and peach fuzz beginning to grow."

"We expect it will be another two months before the joey fully emerges from the pouch; however, guests will start to see the joey exploring its new surroundings in the coming weeks."

A well-baby exam will happen in a few months, and the joey's gender will be determined then.

The yellow-footed rock wallaby is listed as "Near Threatened" by the International Union of the Conservation of Nature, upping the excitement of the joey sighting.

Spying the joey when it was born back in the spring, though?

That would have proven to be quite a challenge.

"Wallabies are born underdeveloped and then crawl into their mother’s pouch where they stay safe, nurse, and continue to develop for six to seven months before they leave the pouch. Joeys are born blind, hairless, and are about the size of a raisin, weighing only 500mg," shared the zoo.

But once the newborn marsupial is tucked into mom's pouch? It is protected, ready to nurse, and ultimately grow bigger and stronger over the coming months.

Now guests at The Living Desert, which is open to visitors with a number of pandemic protocols in place, can keep their peepers focused on Prissy's pouch to see if they can spot the joey's sweet face.

And soon? The baby'll be post-pouch and out hopping around, finally able to explore the world that was once only viewed from the comfort and safety of its first cozy home.

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