Apparently, you should not feed kangaroos too
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.
the kangaroo will always be a wild animal first.
At what age can joeys
safely be left out overnight?
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
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.
Has anyone lost animals from eating poisonous
(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
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.
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
Has anyone lost animals to poisonous plants?
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
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
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.
more information on poisonous plants
to go to the article on Australian Poisonous
BVSc MVSc DVSc in the memebrs section of this
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
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
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.
you know a cockroach can live nine days without
its head before it starves to death.
(Feeding them to your Dunnarts might be a
you know that dogs cannot decipher size.
(Is that why little dogs are mean?)
you know that a Giraffe's tongue is 22 inches
long and black with pink dots.
did you know that the electric chair was
invented by a dentist
(NOW I understand why I have a pathological
fear of dentists!)