Kangaroos have very definite personalities. Merrilyn could definitely be described as feisty on the outside, but pure marshmallow on the inside. The marshmallow showed when she sucked her tail!
If she was still with her Mom she would be sucking on a teat. It's a comfort thing. When the joey hops back into the pouch they search out the teat to hold onto. As they grow they still dash back to mom and pop their heads into her pouch to hold onto a teat. (Kangaroos have 4 teats and can produce two different types of milk at the same time - one for a new in pouch joey and one for an older joey at heel). I was never too worried about tail sucking in a joey. (Sucking feet and bottom bits is a different story...) For small joeys, who would normally be attached to the teat most of the time, we used a "dummy" - a bottle teat without the hole in it.
This is actually a swamp wallaby, just 238g in weight and very happy with her "dummy" thanks very much. (This is Ali and she enters our story in the future.)
Merrilyn, being too big for a dummy now, chose to use her tail instead.
As she grew she started coming out more and more and going on short walks around the property. Don't think dog on a lead - the joeys just followed, free as a breeze, with Merrilyn hopping back into her pouch, which I carried, more often than Buster.
Those who read Part 4 will have met Buster and know that Merrilyn, though not even able to leave the pouch at that point, still let Buster know he was in her territory! The relationship quickly changed to Buster becoming the adored big brother and wherever he hopped off to, little Merrilyn would follow eagerly in his wake. If I sat down they'd both come and jump on me and settle in by my side.
This is my favourite photo of the two of them on one of these early walks.
I call it - almost a kiss!If you've missed the other parts of this story you can find them all on the Merrilyn's Story page. I've been thrilled with the response to this story and thank you to the many leaving comments, they are very much appreciated and I'm enjoying visiting your blogs and meeting you. Please share the story via your facebook pages and twitter as I'd love the world to know about this remarkable kangaroo who has an amazing story. (So much still to come...)
Two more things before I go.
Finally some of you will also have noticed this badge on my blog
There's a blogfest on and I'm joining in. It requires a post about 3 of your favourite games and it sounds like fun and a way to connect with others. You can join in as well here. Tell Alex I sent you. So maybe see you then or next week when the next part of Merrilyn's story is revealed. Love and hugs to you all. Cheryl