Monday, September 20, 2010
So how do I know this is the same male?
Now this is an unusual mating as Merrilyn is carrying a pouch young. It's still to small to have popped it's head out, but it's certainly alive as I have seen movement. Usually females come back into oestrus about 11 days after the loss of pouch young, though mating with pouch young does sometimes occur (clearly). The miracle of the kangaroo is that this new joey will only develop so far and will then stay dormant until the current pouch joey leaves the pouch totally at about 11 months of age.
So joey number 7 is in the pouch and joey number 8 is being created. Rocky, (joey 6) is being weaned now. She's been out of the pouch totally for quite a few months and they only receive milk until they are around 18 months old. As she approaches Merrilyn, hoping for a feed, you can hear Merrilyn's low growl - a very dog like noise, warning her off. It's sad, but a part of life and now is a good time to be weaned as the warming weather and spring rains are bringing a good supply of fresh grass to the area.
It's also the time of the giant flies! These marsh flies, as they are known here, suck blood from their hosts. They'll certainly try for humans, but they are slow to move so if you are brave enough to let them land, you can easily swat them before they inflict any pain. They love kangaroo tails and they provide a great feed for the birds and their new born chicks. Here a blue-faced honey eater comes in to grab one from Big Boy's tail. You can see three flies very clearly in this photo and Big Boy has rolled his tail in some mud in the hope of keeping them at bay. So although the flies are a nuisance to us, they are a valuable food source for the birds. Gotta love nature, it all has a place!