A miniature kangaroo baby for show-n-tell

Porky Thompson and Thumper Photo available for purchase

Porky Thompson and Thumper

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 10:19 AM.

On Monday, Katy Sparks’ pre-Kindergarten class at the Apalachicola Bay Charter School got a special treat when Thumper the kangaroo paid them a visit.

When Sparks invited the children to bring a pet to class, Kate Ward announced she would bring a kangaroo.

Does Kate own a kangaroo? No, but her parents, Kevin and Tara Ward, have a friend in Blountstown, Porky Thompson, who owns three. Thompson said he owns a pair of miniature kangaroos who gave birth to a youngster about six weeks ago.

The baby, Thumper, only recently left his mother’s pouch, and was a little overwhelmed at first by the outpouring of affection and interest from the pre-K kiddies. In a short while, he calmed down enough to do a few short hops to the children’s delight.

Thompson said the kangaroos give birth to one youngster a year or rarely twins.

Miniature kangaroos, or wallabies, are marsupials or pouched mammals like opossums. Born tiny and undeveloped, they immediately crawl into their mothers' pouches where they continue to develop after birth for over a month. Young wallabies, like their larger kangaroo cousins, are called joeys. Even after a joey leaves the pouch, it often jumps back in when threatened.

Like kangaroos, wallabies have powerful hind legs they use to bound along at high speeds and jump great distances. They also use the legs to fight with powerful kicks. These marsupials also have large and powerful tails used for balance and defense.

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