Okotoks, Alberta may be an unlikely place to find a baby red kangaroo, but that’s exactly where a four-month-old marsupial named Dingo has called home for the past month.
Tyler Marshall, who owns a pet store in the town located 25 kilometres south of Calgary, also breeds the red kangaroos native to Australia.
Female red kangaroos give birth to one cherry-sized offspring at a time and raise it for about eight-months inside the safety of its pouch.
But this joey was abandoned by his mother, dumped from her pouch at the age of three months. So Marshall brought Dingo to The Exotic Animal House store, where his staff could take over its care.
Kourtney Paulin is one of seven workers who are looking after Dingo now.
“Kangaroos have to be in the pouch for a year, and he was kicked out at three months,” Paulin told CTV News.
Dingo requires 18-hours of sleep each day, and needs to be fed milk every four hours.
“If he doesn’t have four-hour feedings, he wouldn’t survive… He’s about the size of a turkey right now… but he will get a lot bigger,” Paulin said, explaining that he might grow to be four feet tall.
Paulin’s co-worker Quade Armstrong said Dingo is not going to be sold.
“He’s just being kept here, so that the staff can give him the care his needs right now. We bottle-feed him every four hours, bathe him and hang out with him,” Armstrong said.
Customers can pet Dingo, Armstrong added, but only if they sanitize their hands first.
The Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said they received a concerned call from the public about Dingo living in a pet store.
“One of our officers did attend the store and he saw the animal in late November and it appeared to be healthy, so we didn’t have any concerns about the health of the kangaroo,” said Roland Lines, Communications Manager of the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
A spokesman for Alberta’s Department of Sustainable Resource Development, said that a licence is not required to keep kangaroos in Alberta.
“We have a list of prohibited animals and kangaroos are not prohibited, so you can have one as a pet,” Duncan MacDonnell, public affairs officer for Alberta’s Department of Sustainable Resource Development said.