Exceptional Twins Have Keepers Jumping for Joy!
23rd April 2012
Categories: Press Releases - Latest
Keepers at Blackpool Zoo thought they were seeing double when they spotted an extremely rare set of Red-necked wallaby twins in their Wallaby Walkabout exhibit.
In fact, multiple births are so infrequent that the zoo’s Animal Manager, Peter Dillingham, who is also the Vice-Chair of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria’s Monotreme & Marsupial Taxon Advisory Group, has never personally witnessed twins sharing one pouch during his 39 year career.
The two tiny joeys, which were first noticed by specialist keepers at the zoo a week ago, belong to a three-year-old Red-necked wallaby who came to the zoo’s specially designed walk through area in May of 2011.
They will remain in the mother’s pouch for around ten months, after which they will be officially recognised as being ‘born’.
Although Peter has heard of twins a couple of times since he started working with animals almost four decades ago, he has never actually seen any and they are thought to be the only ones in the UK and Europe at this time.
He said: “It is absolutely fantastic to finally see twins in one pouch and it has caused a real stir amongst staff and visitors here in Blackpool Zoo.
“It isn’t uncommon for wallabies to be pregnant and caring for two other ‘joeys’ at a time, one out of the pouch, one in the pouch.
“As soon as the one inside the pouch leaves another jelly bean sized baby makes its way through the birth canal and latches onto an internal teat until it is big enough to be seen.
“But to have two at the same time is very rare and we are looking forward to seeing them grow over the coming months.”
The duo are part of a huge baby boom in the zoo’s acclaimed Wallaby Walkabout, which is a walk through exhibit designed to let visitors get as close as possible to its residents.
There are currently nine Red-necked wallaby males and 11 females at Blackpool Zoo, with seven of the females currently carrying a joey in the pouch and one caring for a baby that recently came out.
Six red kangaroos can also be found in Wallaby Walkabout, one of which is a joey that left the pouch in February.
Blackpool Zoo has a long and successful history of breeding wallabies and kangaroos and it has housed both species since it opened 40 years ago.
The fantastic news of twins comes as the zoo ramps up preparations for its 40th anniversary on July 6th.
Blackpool Zoo is open every day of the year Current opening hours are 10.00am until 5.45pm and last admission is 5.00pm. Visitors can save on admission prices by booking online at www.blackpoolzoo.org.uk.