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Wombat joey: again a global rarity April 8, 2019

The cameras installed in the wombats’ den recorded joyful images recently. A joey is peeking out of the pouch of the mother animal, Molly.

A joey has been growing for months in the pouch of the mother animal, Molly. What is more, now and then it also peeks out from it, to the greatest joy of visitors. Of course, visitors or even our colleagues can see hardly anything of it now. Nevertheless, the wombat enclosure was fitted with cameras earlier and so we can already show the baby peeking out of the pouch in a short film.

The gestation period of common wombats (Vombatus ursinus) is roughly one month. The tiny newborn is nearly as underdeveloped as an embryo; its development continues for months in the safety of the pouch. The delivery itself may be monitored only in the rarest occasions, so the first signal to the carers that a baby has been born is that the pouch of the mother animal starts to bulge a little. This usually becomes visible after some weeks, within two to three months. In the meanwhile, the baby's fur grows and its eyes open in the pouch, usually by the age of six months, but in any case it finally looks out of the pouch after five months have elapsed. Even so, weeks will pass until it will dare to come out of there for a few steps. Based on its development level, our baby wombat may be roughly half a year old, which means that she could have been born last autumn.

Molly, the female, was born in January 2008, and Wally, the male, in March of the same year. The female comes from East Tasmania, and the male from the north of the island, but both of them were born under artificial circumstances so they are not captured wild animals. They got together at quite a young age in the Zoodoo Wildlife Park, in Richmond, Tasmania, then they came to Budapest from there.
Molly and Wally have proved to be excellent breeding animals; the mother animal had previously brought three joeys to the world and raised them successfully, and the fourth one's development is also very promising.