WATTLE'S TALE
Wattle was born at Roo Gully on the 4th January 1999.
She is Sadie's first joey, and her father is the handsome, debonair wild boomer Oliver.
Wattle
Having raised Sadie from a small joey we had gained her trust and she was very happy to share her joey with us.
What followed became a fascinating insight into the pouched life of a young Western Grey kangaroo, and enabled us to collect so much information for our study into joey development, and to capture the unique footage needed to make our first documentary film 'Joeys - Wattle and Tingle's Tale'.
Wattle 6 days old
We first filmed Wattle when she was 6 days old.
We were very aware of the intrusion, but delighted to be given the opportunity to share her life.
When she was 7 weeks old we saw a pouch had formed. She was the first female joey to be born at Roo Gully.
Wattle 7 weeks old
Wattle approach milestones

Almost every day we followed Wattle's progress as she grew inside the pouch, and we looked forward to sharing the major milestones in her life.

The first happened on the 21st June.

166 days after she had been born we opened the pouch and saw Wattle blinking back at us. She had opened her eyes.
Wattle eyes open
Wattle peeps

One month later Wattle decided to pop her head out of the pouch and have a look at her new world.

But we knew the best milestone was yet to come.

For 12 weeks we followed Sadie everywhere, shooting hours of film, hoping to capture the exact moment she was tipped out of the pouch, and during that period we captured memorable footage of Wattle. We also learned so much about the education of a young marsupial, and how well it is prepared for life outside the pouch.
Wattle looks
Wattle peeping
Wattle's pouch view

And then on the 30th September our patience was rewarded. Sadie ejected Wattle out of the pouch, not in the bush - but right beside our bed!

For the next few weeks Sadie came home and trained Wattle in our bedroom, and so from the comfort of our bed we were treated to one of Mother Nature's greatest wildlife shows.

Wattle learning bedroom
When Sadie moved her classroom outside we saw how mother coaxed daughter through this next stage of her pouch life.
Wattle learns outside
Wattle was soon to become a young at foot, which meant she would no longer be allowed inside the pouch
but would be able to insert her head to drink from the teat.
Wattle wants pouch
This caused some friction between mother and daughter.
Mum wanted Wattle to stay out of the pouch for longer each period, but daughter wanted inside, and it was amazing to watch the tactics she used to make Sadie stand so she could get back in.
Wattle was now nearly a year old. Then one morning Oliver returned.
His presence meant Wattle's time inside the pouch was coming to an end, because within weeks a new joey would be taking up residence.
Oliver returns

Sadly Sadie's new joey, Samson, missed the pouch and, despite our efforts to attach him to the teat, he died.


The Western Grey kangaroo is one of the few macropods that does not exhibit the embryonic diapause,
which is often referred to as the 'baby of hold',
so when Samson died there was no suspended foetus waiting to be kick started in Sadie's uterus.
For Sadie to have another joey Oliver had to come back.

Wattle and family

And he did.

Wattle got used to having daddy around, and a few weeks later Sadie gave birth to a son, Jarrah.

As Jarrah grew inside the pouch Sadie concentrated her efforts on her daughter.
Sadie is the dominant female at Roo Gully and as we watched her teach Wattle we knew she would be dominant too.
It proved to be another fascinating insight into the life of a kangaroo, mob behaviour and ranking within the mob.
But Wattle still had one more surprise in store for us.
When Oliver returned the following year he deliberately courted Wattle, and she encouraged him, even showing affection for her father and on more than one occasion defending him.
Oliver and Wattle

We were very worried about this inbreeding between father and daughter,
but after realising that Oliver was ignoring Tingle, his other daughter at Roo Gully,
we decided to leave nature to take its course.
After all Wattle was the daughter of the dominant parents. Perhaps Oliver was hoping to sire a dominant male.

On the 23rd January 2001 Wattle gave birth to a son, Lipa - pronounced 'Leaper'.

Wattle with Lipa in pouch
Although we had been involved with Wattle from the day she was born, we did not raise her as we had her mother, so we knew we could not film Lipa's development inside the pouch.
For many months we worried about Lipa, and the fact that he was inbred.
All we could do was hope he was developing normally.
Thankfully he was, and in fact he grew into a handsome young roo.
Lipa stands with Wattle
Wattle looks very much like her mother, and she has also inherited some of Sadie's responsibilities.
Her ranking is second in command of the Roo Gully mob.
Wattle is a very serious kangaroo, who does not suffer fools and who is quick to impose her authority on any of the other roos who dare to cross her.
Wattle stares at camera
Wattle drinks bottle
But she is also fairly comfortable with human company, and although she was never raised on the bottle, she was intelligent enough to know when Sadie weaned her that if she stood in the queue at bottle time she might also get a drink of milk too!
Even today if we are feeding joeys down by the creek Wattle is more than willing to finish any leftover milk.
Wattle has always been a very important kangaroo to observe. All ready we have learned a great deal from her development, her behaviour and her ranking within the mob, and hopefully we shall continue to observe Wattle, and her role, in the years to come. Your 'adoption' will help us continue this work, and we are sure the information she gives will greatly assist in the understanding of kangaroos and their wonderful communities - their mobs.
Wattle looks
On behalf of Wattle and her mates we thank you for caring

Wattle's Tale © Roo Gully 2003