unlikely-family

Cuddle buddies! Orphaned kangaroo and wombat become best friends

Aug. 6, 2012 at 4:53 PM ET

Rob Leeson/newspix/rex / Rex Usa / Rob Leeson/Newspix/Rex / Rex USA /
Anzac and Peggy share a humidity crib, which will have its heat turned down as they learn to retain their own body heat.

When Anzac, an orphaned 5-month-old kangaroo, was found in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne, Australia, rescuers thought he looked a little lonely.

Anzac's mother had been hit by a car. Thanks to the safety of her pouch, Anzac survived even though his mother did not. In order to comfort him, workers at the Wildlife Kilmore Rescue Center introduced him to Peggy, a 5-month-old baby wombat whose mother was also killed after being hit by a car. The two, who are both marsupials, shared a pouch together and have become inseparable.

 

Lisa Milligan, the owner and operator of the rescue center and shelter, told TODAY.com that injured animals usually come in at night because marsupials are nocturnal and are hit when drivers don't see them.

Car accidents are the most common cause of death to marsupials, as urbanization has caused traffic and animals to collide in what were once rural areas. Milligan said she goes out on 10 to 15 rescues per week.

Rescuers haven't found a wombat partner for Peggy yet but it looks like she's doing just fine. Anzac has made a kangaroo friend, Poppy, who is also at the shelter.

TODAY.com reported last week on Caddy, an 18-month-old wombat who was rescued after her mom was run over as well. She won the hearts of people around the world when photos emerged of her poking her head out of a pouch that rescue volunteers had made for her.

 

Anzac and Peggy have become fast friends due to their complementary personalities, according to rescuers. Anzac, with his doe eyes and soft fur, is described as very social. Peggy, on the other hand, is rambunctious and sassy.  

According to Milligan, the baby animals she takes in are usually very friendly and often grateful for affection and food. "These animals totally trust you because they know you’re helping them," Milligan said. Just three weeks ago, rescuers saved a kangaroo out of a dumpster. "Within 2 days he was putting his arms around rescuer’s necks and cuddling, showing no aggression and taking baby bottles."

The shelter goes through an average of 40 bottles each day, which are specially formulated for marsupials. Anzac is on four bottles per day and Peggy is on five. 

Anzac and Peggy have already made friends around the world. A Facebook user posted of the story, saying, "The animals are showing us that when love and companionship are required barriers are dropped."

Though Anzac and Peggy are cuddle buddies now, the two will have trouble fitting into their man-made pouch once they really get growing. It may be especially challenging for Peggy to keep up with Anzac, as kangaroos can reach well over 100 pounds and leap across the landscape at over 25 miles per hour. Wombats, on the other hand, are known for their burrowing and are smaller, weighing in at around 50 pounds. They are slow, and tend to waddle rather than leap. 

In the meantime, the pair share their nursery with two baby wallabies and five other joeys. Anzac and Peggy fit right in, as the other joeys snuggle each other as well. "They feel each other, they touch noses, they groom each other, they’ll suckle on each other’s ears," said Milligan. "They bond to each other very quickly."

And even with the difference in size and speed, Milligan said it's likely Anzac and Peggy will remain friends. “If they grow up together they’ll stay together," she said. 

TODAY.com contributor Jillian Eugenios thinks Anzac and Peggy would look even cuter with matching hats, which she volunteers to make for them. 

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