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What do you get when you cross a sheep with a baby wallaby?

Four month old Bentley, a Red Neck Wallaby, was brought to WIRES with a broken leg after being hit by a car last Friday.
Four month old Bentley, a Red Neck Wallaby, was brought to WIRES with a broken leg after being hit by a car last Friday. Doug Eaton

FOR baby Bentley, the three-month-old red-necked wallaby, there can never be too many hand-knitted pouches.

The same goes for his adoptive six-month-old brothers and sister, Tussock, Nassella and Bono.

The pouches they live and sleep in were hand-knitted from wool and sent all the way from South Africa by wildlife carers.

Northern Rivers WIRES volunteer Renata Phelps, who cares for the orphaned wallabies, said the women in South Africa formed a relationship with Northern Rivers WIRES after seeing pictures of animals on its website and Facebook page.

Renata Phelps from WIRES with wallabies kept by warm by knitted woollen pouches made in South Africa.
Renata Phelps from WIRES with wallabies kept by warm by knitted woollen pouches made in South Africa. Doug Eaton

"We are always in need of pouches and the women in South Africa saw that and have for some years sent us packages," she said.

"It's really important that they're wool for the little guys because the natural fibres breathe better and don't make them overheat."

Although the joeys are old enough to generate body heat, in the cooler evenings and through winter they struggle to hold that heat on their own.

On average, the baby wallabies go through one or more pouches a day, not including the ones they soil that have to be washed.

With about 15 to 20 wallabies in WIRES care across the Northern Rivers, this equals a lot of pouches.

"We're always desperately in need of pouches," Ms Phelps said.

Bentley, Nassella and Bono were all orphaned when their mothers were hit by cars. Tussock's mum was killed by a dog but he miraculously survived.

Five month old wallabies enjoy the comfort of knitted woollen pouches from South Africa.
Five month old wallabies enjoy the comfort of knitted woollen pouches from South Africa. Doug Eaton

Bentley still has a cast around his leg as a reminder of his lucky escape.

The baby wallabies will be dependent on milk for the first year of their lives.

Ms Phelps said the wallabies in her care were just learning to "tear around the yard really fast", except for Bentley in his cast.

"They're at a very cheeky stage at the moment because they're just learning to hop," she said.

Ms Phelps said anyone who came across a wallaby or kangaroo on the side of the road should move the animal off the road, check its pouch and call the WIRES Northern Rivers hotline on 6628 1898 immediately if a joey was found.

Topics:  kangaroos wildlife wires northern rivers



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