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Our kangaroos are fascinating and complex animals. Currently in Chittering and surrounding areas, it is ‘pinky’ time, with embryonic little joeys growing inside the mother’s pouch. Pinkies are hairless, their eyes are yet to open and they look like a cross between a baby bird and a dinosaur. They derive their name from the bright pink colour of their skin. They are totally dependent on their mother for a finely tuned mix of milk (which varies in ratios of protein to carbohydrate depending on their age) and a moist pouch to keep their skin supple and warm. Pinky’s mouths are often fused to the teat in their earlier stages.

We know this as this is the time of year that they are found, due to their mothers being killed by road traffic accidents or shot. Either a member of the public will bring them to us or we will be called out to assess and euthanise a critically injured kangaroo. A viable pinky (one which has a chance of surviving without the mother) needs to weigh approximately 200 g or more.

Rehabilitating pinky’s is a true labour of love, as they require feeding by special formula 8 times a day every 2-3 hours when they have closed eyes and ears down, then 6 bottles a day when their eyes have opened and ears are up. They require toileting and cleaning, and regular moisturising and keeping warm, and cuddles! They need to be kept in a special soft pouch at all times and feel the heartbeat of another body to simulate being in their mother’s pouch.

After the joey reaches approximately 6 months old, it develops velvet like fur. The feeding, toileting and cleaning regime continues. The baby will explore the world in the next few months and begin to come out of its pouch for short periods of time. Around 9 months of age they can start to explore other foods such as rolled oats, however need to continue with the formula for many more months until they are weaned, and eating a variety of grasses and shrubs and goat muesli. Our adolescent joeys are usually released after about 18 months of care.

It is such a privilege to care for our little joeys and try to give them a healthy start in life. Hats off to the carers who raise joeys from pinkies, as this requires sleepless nights and lots of time. As much as we love to care for our young kangaroos, they would be much better off with their mothers. You can help by slowing down at dawn and dusk on country roads and keeping a special eye out for any movement at the side of the road at all times. Not only will this potentially save our roos, it will save your vehicle from unnecessary impacts. Take care everyone, and safe driving.

Helping the Chittering Wildlife Carers is possible by utilising the barcode above when you deposit your cans and bottles, or by making a direct bank transfer. Donations will be tax deductible, as soon as we are eligible for DGR1 status. We are working on this process now, apologies that tax deductible receipts cannot be given until this time. The account name is the Chittering Wildlife Carers Inc. The BSB is 633000 and the account number is 131834012. Please email our Treasurer for your receipt: ashlee.martin@live.com. Thank you.