Wallabies remind me that humans are animals

Wallabies! What animals they are!

We live on half an acre in a rural eco-village. The way the property is designed, we have “borrowed views” of lots of neighbouring land. And wallabies roam among the 45 properties at Jarlanbah.

At least half a dozen regularly call our place home.

I don’t know much about these wallabies. They are different from the exceedingly shy agile wallabies of Deep Creek. I’ve score of photos of these folk and not a single one from a year at Deep Creek, despite many attempts.

Today a female approached a male for a snuggle. It was a warm afternoon in late winter and everything was soft and hazy. Snuggling weather, to be sure. She was clearly not on heat and he was sort of indifferent. Not for him today the groaning, gasping and panting that accompanies mating.  But by the time she’d groomed him for a while and helpfully removed some ticks from his fur, he thought the better of his indifference and joined in the snuggles. Or so I speculated.


It made me think of my great friend’s new miracle baby, christened a charming Charlotte. First report from the hospital on the phone was simply this: “She loves cuddles.”

These cuddly wallabies are very tame and friendly, especially the young ones. Watching the babies is a lesson in environmental psychology, territorial range and “home” base. Back and forth, then a bit farther out, then a scurry and an eager jump into the pouch and at the nipple.

Home is where the pouch — and the milk — is.

About two years ago, one of the female wallabies on our property turned up with two joeys. I was amazed. Again I felt for her viscerally, as she struggled to accommodate both of them, with their flailing arms and legs. I guess I felt interspecies empathy.

I bet it hurt!

Think of the stretch marks!

A Wallaby and her joeys. One is adopted.

In the Nimbin hairdressers, I mentioned the twins to Jilly, who was cutting my hair.

An old cocky was sitting in the other chair, having his annual haircut.

“Not twins!” was his firmly muttered response without even looking up.

“They never have twins. She’s adopted a stray.”

A few weeks later, while Liz was still feeding that wild dingo, there was only one joey.

A while ago, a right-wing Australian parliamentarian took umbrage at being called an animal. The retort from a Greens parliamentarian (which I wish I’d thought of) was, “Well then, are you vegetable or mineral?”

Of course, we’re animals.

And as a person who’s lived in the bush with rats and mice for years, I can attest that some of the other species of animals are much smarter than we are. Smarter than Karl and me, at least.

For the rat story, see a much earlier blog:



About Wendy

Wendy Sarkissian is an author, speaker and planner. She lives in an eco-village in rural Australia. Her interests are in environmental ethics, community engagement, social planning and caring for Nature. She holds a PhD in environmental ethics.
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