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December 23, 2012

Hippity, hoppity holiday

Aussie native’s girlfriend gives him baby kangaroo as birthday present


Cosgrove first saw Bruce, or, more accurately, felt him, when he was about 2 months old, still hairless and living in his mother’s pouch. By the time she left the Lampasas ranch he was bred on, she had committed to buying him and paid a portion of his $1,500 purchase price. The females are higher, she said, about $3,500.

“The momma kangaroos were really sweet and super friendly,” Cosgrove said. “The lady called them, and they came hopping. I stuck my hand in the pouch to pet him, so I could bond with him.”

Bruce was supposed to go home with Cosgrove and Richardson at the end of January, Cosgrove said, but the breeder “pulled” him early to cement the animal/owner bond before the couple left for a three-week trip to Australia.

“He was already poking his head out of the pouch,” Cosgrove said. “They usually spend several months getting out and then going back in.” She said Bruce would stay with breeder Janice Castleberry during their upcoming trip.

The bonding process has been a little rocky, Cosgrove said, and Bruce requires a lot of her time, much like a human baby would. The little joey spent his first couple days crying, but then settled in with his new mom. 

“He’s supposed to be Geordie’s, but I get up with him at night,” she said. “He wants a bottle, or I have to wrap him up; he sleeps with an electric blanket.”

When Bruce calls for her, he makes a mechanical sound, she said, a sort of punctuated bark.

Kangaroos are sensitive to stress, Cosgrove has learned, and their blood sugar can drop to a dangerously low level. She said Bruce showed signs of stress at a recent Christmas party that was attended by a lot of people. 

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