One of the perks of being a long-term volunteer is that I got to name a couple of the joeys in care. Caitlin, who I named after my youngest niece, was a force of nature and soon became the stuff of legend like the mythical kraken. She was a handful that you couldn’t take your eyes off for a minute.
Rascally Caitlin arrived paired up with a little boy who I named Kaipo. According to Google, Kaipo means sweetheart in Hawaiian. I don’t know if that’s correct or not, but it fit the little guy’s personality. He was gentle and sweet, unlike Caitlin, who I would describe as feisty and bold.
When they arrived, both joeys were timid and cautious about their new surroundings. This, of course, is natural having moved from a place where they were the only joeys to a place with joeys of different sizes and species. But, it didn’t take long for Caitlin to show her true colors. She was the first to hop out of her pouch and wander around the shelter. After introducing both joeys to the backyard, Caitlin was the first to seek it out on her own. Poor Kaipo was beside himself. He was afraid to leave his pouch but also afraid to be without his best friend!
One very distinctive feature about Caitlin was her bulging eyes. At first we assumed it was a physical manifestation of stress from her move because she constantly looked a bit freaked out. But, after a week with no change, we realized that it was just how she looked naturally.
This was about the time she started asserting her independence, and the freaked-out look morphed into a mischievous gleam. Poor Kaipo. If it’s true that paired wallabies stick together when they’re released into the wild (even if they do not become a mating pair), Kaipo will truly have his hands full with his girl!