Summer is a great time for a trip to the Oglebay Good Zoo and 7News took another one with the winners of our Animals Up Close contest.
This time we shared some peanuts with a few friendly wallabies and got to check out some kangaroos who live with them.
“You see how he has just a little bit of red on his neck?” asked the Oglebay Good Zoo’s Curator of Animals Mindi White. “That’s where red-necked comes from. It’s not because we’re in West Virginia.”)
That’s where red-necked wallabies get their name.
If you’re like us you may wonder what’s the difference between these guys and a kangaroo?
It’s their size, coloring and behavior.
“When Jackson gets full grown he’ll be around 45 pounds,” White said about the first friendly wallaby to check out what snacks our group had to offer.
They start out much smaller, about the size of a jelly bean when they’re born.
“Then they have to find their way to their mamma’s pouch, which they do by climbing,” White explained. “They just have wee little baby feet and they climb up then they stay in the pouch until they’re about six or seven months old.”
And they grow up big and strong with long tails they use to balance as they move around.
“We learned that the kangaroos have strong muscles,” said Animals Up Close winner Charlie Gooch.
“They fling their weight on their back tail and they bring up their hind legs and kick full force,” White continued. “Very powerful animals.”
“Their tail helps them balance when they’re on their hind legs,” added Caleb Gooch.
The wallabies’ back feet are unique and help them hop around too, but it’s their front claws that help them beat the heat.
“They’ll dig the first layer of ground off and make a divot in the ground and then they lay on the really really cool soil that’s underneath that,” White said.
You might also see this group licking their arms or splashing water on themselves.
“They have blood vessels very close to the skin on their forearms and that’s how they can cool themselves down quicker,” White continued.
The wallabies also have eyelashes worthy of a mascara commercial, but they serve a purpose too.
“In Australia there’s really dusty and dry areas, so they use those eyelashes to keep their eyes nice and clean so they can see what’s going on around them,” White told the group.
Charlie and Caleb were close enough to check them out because they had the wallabies favorite snack, peanuts.
They also like grapes, carrots and yams, but for these brothers feeding the wallabies wasn’t the best part of the day.
“Getting to pet them because they were so soft,” Charlie said.
The Oglebay Good Zoo is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
You can also schedule an up-close encounter with animals like the kangaroos and wallabies by calling 304-243-4100 you can also find more information at oglebay.com/good-zoo.