Cute Photos Show Rare 'Miniature Kangaroo' Baby Peeking From Mom's Pouch

A zoo in England has released several photos of a baby dusky pademelon—a marsupial species sometimes referred to as a "miniature kangaroo"—emerging from its mother's pouch.

Staff at Chester Zoo—located in the northwest of the country—managed to capture the moment that the new baby, known as a joey, peeked out from the pouch for the first time.

Marsupials are a group of mammals that are known for giving birth to infants in a premature state. In most species, the young then continue their development in the pouch of the mother.

Dusky pademelons—also known as dusky wallabies—are only found in the forests of New Guinea, a large island located to the north of Australia, and some smaller islands in Indonesia.

A dusky pademelon
An image showing the baby dusky pademelon peeking out of its mother's pouch at Chester Zoo. Chester Zoo

These marsupials bear a resemblance to their close relatives, the kangaroo, but they grow to much smaller sizes, hence their nickname.

While adult male red kangaroos—the largest kangaroo species—can grown to more than five feet in height, according to the Billabong Sanctuary, dusky pademelons usually only grow to around two feet in height.

Speaking about the moment that zoo staff first spotted the baby pademelon, zookeeper Megan Carter, said in a statement: "It was at the point that we noticed mother Styx was slowly gaining weight that we began to monitor her behavior and feeding patterns extra closely, and we were hopeful that she was rearing a baby. Seeing the magical moment her new arrival took its first peek out of the pouch has brought us a huge amount of joy!"

"When we first saw the dusky pademelon joey peek out from mum's pouch for the first time, we were so excited," Carter told Newsweek.

Dusky pademelon infants are born in their mother's birth canal just 30 days after an instance of successful mating. At this stage, they are about the size of a jelly bean.

"When a dusky pademelon joey is first born it's only about the size of a jelly bean and so it stays in the safety of mum's pouch, where it receives all of the nourishment it needs to grow and develop, for around six months," Carter said in the statement.

After this period is over, the joey will be ready to emerge from its mother's pouch. A spokesperson for Chester Zoo previously told Newsweek that they often spend some time exploring before hopping back into the mother's pouch—until they have the confidence to be fully independent.

A dusky pademelon at Chester Zoo
The joey peeking out of its mother's pouch for the first time. Chester Zoo

"It'll be a few weeks until the new baby fully emerges and is hopping around and exploring all by itself—that's when we'll be able to determine if it's male or female and give it a fitting name," Carter said.

Sadly, wild populations of dusky pademelons have declined about 30 percent in the last 20 years due to a mixture of factors, including trapping, hunting and deforestation.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the species as vulnerable to extinction.

"The decline of dusky pademelons has mostly gone under the radar for quite some time as little is known about these Indonesian kangaroos," Carter said.

"But with the new information we're gathering and the scientific observations our teams are making about how they live and rear their young, we can help better inform future conservation action in the wild and bring some much-needed attention to this highly threatened species."

There are only 56 individuals of this species living in captivity across the whole of Europe, according to Chester Zoo.

Update 04/20/22, 06:52 a.m. EDT: This article was updated to include comments from Megan Carter of Chester Zoo.