Wandering wallaby caught by Severn homeowners

Young, healthy marsupial staying at petting farm in Davidsonville for now

October 20, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

After weeks of evading animal control officers, a wallaby that might have spent months wandering the woods of Anne Arundel County was caught Monday night by a couple in Severn.

The brown-and-white marsupial - resembling a small kangaroo and typically found in the outback of Australia - was captured by Ken and Jean Lauer when they lured it into a dog cage set up on their 2-acre property near the Millersville landfill.

Jean Lauer said she and her husband had been feeding the creature a mix of apples, corn and specially ordered "kangaroo pellets" since moving into their house on Terry Lee Way five weeks ago. Their neighbors, she said, had sighted the wallaby in the area as early as May.

County animal officials, who apparently made an unsuccessful attempt at capturing the wallaby last weekend, could not be reached late yesterday to confirm when the animal was first reported in the region.

As soon as the Lauers captured the wallaby Monday, they called Debbie Collison, the owner of a petting farm in Davidsonville who owns one wallaby and knows how to handle the animals, which are known for their strong legs. Collison was able to wrangle the wallaby into her vehicle so that it could be transported to the county's animal shelter in Millersville.

The 17-pound juvenile, which Collison said might double in size by the time it is fully grown, was given a checkup and received a clean bill of health. It was then permitted to reside temporarily at Collison's facility.

Collison said by phone yesterday that the wallaby - a female - was scared of her at first but since has adjusted to captivity. Before transporting it from the shelter to the farm early yesterday, Collison soothed the animal's nerves by placing it into a soft contraption similar to a mother wallaby's pouch.

"At first she rejected me touching her at all. But within an hour, I could pet her and rub her feet," Collison said.

If the wallaby's owner does not claim it by Monday, Collison will adopt the animal permanently.

Said Collison: "She's really sweet."

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