Some Useless Information


Q.   Apparently, you should not feed kangaroos too much
 bread.    How much is too much?

A.   If you want to be really ‘picky’, kangaroos should not be fed bread at all.

However, a little does not seem to do any harm but large quantities should be avoided.    Bread contains yeast, which will ferment within the kangaroo's stomach and gut and has the potential to cause a number of digestive ailments.

The way in which we keep our animal manageable is to substitute the bottle for the occasional slice of bread and up to date this has not caused us, or our animals, any problems.

At the time of writing, we have sixteen hand raised kangaroos on our property and they all receive one, perhaps two slices of bread per day.    This is really a substitute for the bottle.    When each animal has been weaned off the bottle unless some way of keeping them tame is arranged, then they will gradually return to a "wild" state and will be difficult to approach and a nightmare if you need veterinary treatment for one of them.   Your animals should be "manageable" in case of the need for veterinary treatment.    There is nothing worse than having the vet turn up and then having him or her spend the next couple of hours trying to catch a sick semi wild kangaroo.

 Remember that the kangaroo will always be a wild animal first.

Q.   At what age can joeys safely be left out overnight?

 A.  You cannot be dogmatic about a specific age and say that at that point the animal should be left alone.    It will depend very much on the individual animal.    Red kangaroos and Euros will be independent much sooner than Grey kangaroos for example, but there will also be considerable variation within the species.

As a rule of thumb when they are happy to be out of the pouch for long periods of time, you should already be thinking about introducing him/her/them to the outside world.    At this point you should have already reduced their daily bottle feeding routine down to two or three feeds per day.    This will help considerably with their introduction to the outside world.

The way in which we have gone through this process is as follows.    Their pouches are hung outside in small-protected area, which includes a 'roo shed with heat lamps, and has gated access to a much larger area (and the adult animals).    The joeys are then placed in their pouches and left to their own devices; the only difference now is that when feed time comes round you have to go outside to feed them.    This method gets the joeys used to the smells, sounds and sights of the outside world before they have to go through the trauma of mixing with any adult animals you may have.    When we are happy that they have adjusted to outside living, (this could be only a few weeks or it could be several months) we open one of the gates to the larger area and let them "mingle with the crowd" and keep a eye on them to make sure their are no problems.

We have had very few, if any, problems using this method.    The only time we have had a problem is recently with a very precocious young Red buck who thought he was going to rule the roost, but was put in his place very smartly by our dominant buck.    Unfortunately, the result of the confrontation was some superficial damage to the youngster’s tail that, I am pleased to say, now back to normal.

You will note that I have been talking in the plural.    This is not without good reason, for I believe that it is always better to raise two joeys of similar age together.    In this way they can relate to each other, which is a considerable help at the time they are introduced outside world and any adult animal.

Q.   Has anyone lost animals from eating poisonous plants?  (1) I realise that a number of plants are poisonous to animals, but have found when watching my kangaroos around these plants, in particular, the perennial flower Fox Glove, they will eat everything in the vicinity but never touch the Fox Glove.    Is it safe to assume they never will or should I play it safe and remove all known poisonous plants that I have growing (Daffodils, Irises, Lilies, Fox Gloves etc).     

A.   The only animal I (Ed.) have lost under suspicious circumstances, (some form of poisoning according to the vet) many years ago, was a goat.    The only conclusion we could draw as to the cause of death, was that he had eaten a species of Gastrolobium, possibly Gastrolobium elachistrum, which was, in those days, was to be found scattered around our property.

Personally, I would not be too keen on ripping out every plant that was a possible danger to my animals, with maybe the exception of species like the Oleander, Gastrolobium and Petty Spurge.     Petty Spurge (Euphorbia spp.) is also poisonous but difficult to control without the use of herbicides, which cause their own problems.   Most animals seem to be aware of plants that are distasteful and even if they do eat them, they have such an unpleasant taste that the animals only consume very small quantities and will not return to that plant.    They learn very quickly the species that should be left alone and do not eat them.   Those that do not learn, come to an unpleasant end.

All this presupposes that the animals are well fed at all times, in which case they will have no need to consume herbage that is distasteful.    However, if the animals are not supplied with a continuous supply of good food then you will dramatically increase the likelihood of them becoming poisoned by eating something they should not!

Q.   Has anyone lost animals to poisonous plants? (2) 

A.   Yes.    Several years ago a Society member lost 3 Rufous Bettongs (Aepyprymnus rufescens), including a pouch young, to the poisonous berries of the White Box Cedar tree (also known as the Cape Lilac).    At the time, he was not aware that they were poisonous.    They had been planted along his street by the Council 80 or so years ago and were now very large.    These trees produce masses of flowers, berries, leaves and leaf stems each year, all of which they drop.

He used to rake up all this herbage, along with the weeds and grass clippings and put it in his Dama Wallaby (Macropus eugenii) enclosure which the wallabies had a great time foraging through.

Unfortunately, on this occasion he also had a pair of Rufous Bettongs in the same enclosure, one of which had a joey in the pouch.    All three animals apparently loved the berries and subsequently died.    A hard lesson!    The wallabies had no problems so he presumes they either did not eat the berries or were not affected by them in the same way.

For more information on poisonous plants to go to the article on Australian Poisonous Plants by Dr Ross McKenzie BVSc MVSc DVSc in the memebrs section of this site.

Q.   Do Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps) have a preference for sleeping quarters and what do you use to transport them? 

A    From my own experiences, Sugar Gliders are not particularly fussed about their sleeping quarters although an attempt should be made to provide them with quarters that will offer some protection from the heat during the summer months.    A log with very thick walls would be ideal although a box made from a very heavy gauge chipboard (or similar) would be just as acceptable.

Transportation is probably best done during the day to allow the animal to be released in its new surroundings as early in the evening as possible.    This gives the animal all night to become acquainted with its new home.    To transport the animal a standard bird transportation box would be suitable but a small bag would probably be better.    Something like the sleeve of on old jumper with one end sewn up and the other end with a draw string.

An extensive article on the transportation of many creatures can be found in the Winter 2002 and Summer 2003 editions of “Keeping Marsupials” and on our website in the members section

Q.   How do you fill a hungry joey?    I am rearing  an Eastern Grey male 'roo (9 -10 months old) on Wombaroo kangaroo milk replacer and he is always hungry - jumping out of his bag and going crazy for food two hours after every feed.    I dilute it heavily so that he gets plenty to drink at each feed.    Is it okay to exceed the recommended amount of Wombaroo?    I am already exceeding it by 40mls a day.    Can I exceed it by more?    Should I add baby cereal?    I did add a teaspoon to each bottle for a week, but he seemed a bit of colour so I stopped in case it was a bit rich for him.    He always has plenty of food at hand (grass etc.) to eat, but this does not seem to stop his hunger for milk.     He has been wormed.

A.   Be extremely cautious of giving too much milk as excessive amounts can cause diarrhoea in the majority of animals; but be guided by what comes out of the ‘bottom end’.      If his droppings do not become soft, then by all means offer him more milk but in fact it would probably be better to add more water to his bottle to increase the volume, not the milk intake.    However, you may be making a rod for your own back, in that if he takes milk to the exclusion of solid food, you are setting up the possibility of severe problems as he gets older.    It may sound a little callous but you must keep him a little hungry to encourage him to take solid foods in order to keep his teeth and gut in good working order.

Having said all that, joeys of that age are always hungry; just make sure he has access to a constant supply of solid food. (We use a mixture of kangaroo pellets and goat meal).


Some Useless Information

Did you know a polar bear's skin is black and its fur is not white, but actually clear and Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
(Mmmmmmm interesting!

Did you know a cockroach can live nine days without its head before it starves to death.
(Feeding them to your Dunnarts might be a better idea)

Did you know that dogs cannot decipher size.
(Is that why little dogs are mean?)

Did you know that a Giraffe's tongue is 22 inches long and black with pink dots.

And did you know that the electric chair was invented by a dentist
(NOW I understand why I have a pathological fear of dentists!)


Bennett's Wallaby
Juvenile NT Brushtail Possum
Swamp Wallaby
Golden Brushtail Possum
Red Kangaroos
Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies
Baby Squirrel Glider
Sugar Glider

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