The Santa Barbara Zoo is welcoming its first baby wallaby, or joey.
The zoo says its female Bennett's wallaby "Kalina" gave birth to her first joey approximately five to six months ago.
When wallabies are born, they're about the size of a jellybean, zoo officials explained. They then climb up and into their mothers' pouch where they spend the next eight to nine months growing and developing.
Zoo officials are just now starting to see the joey's movement inside Kalina's pouch.
“We are very excited about the arrival of our first wallaby joey, and we’re now seeing it start to pop its head out of the pouch,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s VP of Animal Care & Health. “You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the joey’s head or legs hanging out of Kalina’s pouch and if you look closely at her pouch, you will notice a lot of movement as the joey is now very active inside there. It will still be a while before the joey is ready to come all the way out of the pouch and spend time exploring the habitat with Kalina and it will continue to hop in and out of the pouch until it is about one year old.”
The Bennett’s wallaby is a medium-sized marsupial found along the eastern coast of Australia and on the island of Tasmania.
Kalina is on display in the zoo's Australian Walkabout exhibit which was opened in January. The exhibit also includes wallabies, kangaroos, emus, and other native birds.
The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are available online and advance purchase is required.