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Hop Over to See Kangaroo Jacks, Jills and Joeys

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The Zoo welcomes three new joeys just in time for the New Year.

Hop Over to See Kangaroo Jacks, Jills and Joeys

Adelaide, the red kangaroo, and her joey. Photo by Natalie Sommer/ABQ BioPark.

Three new red kangaroo joeys are peeking out of their mothers' pouches and playing in the 'roo yard at the ABQ BioPark Zoo. The joeys join four female kangaroos, also known as jills or flyers, and three males, also called jacks or boomers. Visitors can greet the new joeys during the holidays from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. Their habitat is located along the Cat Walk, near the emu and lion exhibits, and is included with regular admission.

Fiona, Adelaide and Binyarra currently have joeys, all sired by Lance, the largest male. It's typical for only one male to mate with the females in a group, or mob, of kangaroos. Two joeys are still exclusively in their mothers' pouches, but can be seen poking their heads out, curious about the other animals and their home. The larger joey, about six weeks older than the other two, likes to hop around in the mornings and explore. For the next eight months, visitors will be able to see the joeys hop in and out of the pouches until their legs and arms stick out, and they outgrow the mother roos' pockets.

"Red kangaroos can breed throughout the year, but it's not often that we get joeys in the winter," said Shelly Dicks, Mammal Supervisor. "Having three youngsters with thick, fuzzy winter coats is exciting, and they're keeping these cold months lively and active. Joeys are always favorites among visitors and keepers, and it's great that they are around just in time for the holidays."

Female red kangaroos (Macropus rufus) have one baby at a time. At birth, a baby kangaroo is smaller than a cherry and must crawl up a saliva path the mother licks through her fur. Once secure in the pouch, the joey attaches to a teat for the next seven to 10 months as it develops in the pouch. After emerging from the pouch, joeys nurse for another year. Once adults, they eat vegetation in the Australian grasslands, savannas and deserts they inhabit. Visitors can watch the joeys grow at the ABQ BioPark, and head over to Australia to discover more marsupials, like wombats, koalas and Matschie's tree kangaroos.

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