Page last updated at 19:17 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 20:17 UK

Wallaby spotted in Cornish garden

Wallaby and joey
The wallaby hopping around on the patio

A wallaby with a baby joey has been photographed hopping around the back garden of a house in Cornwall.

The marsupial and her youngster were spotted by an "amazed" Brian Nash on his neighbour's patio in St Breward, near Bodmin, on Thursday morning.

"She was just hopping about enjoying the morning sun," he said

It is thought the female may have mated with a male wallaby which escaped two years ago from Trevathan Farm near St Endellion - about eight miles away.

Trevathan Farm owner Mark Symons said his wallaby is regularly spotted in the area.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing
Brian Nash

"I've never seen him myself, but lots of other people apparently have," he told BBC News.

"He was a healthy youngster, capable of living for years, so it could well be his mate and little joey."

No parks or farms in Cornwall have reported a missing female wallaby, but she may have escaped from a private collection or been dumped by an owner who no longer wanted her.

Breeders and animal experts said a growing number of people in the UK were buying wallabies to keep their lawns and gardens in trim.

Mr Symons said wallabies could survive easily in the Bodmin Moor area, with an almost unlimited amount of vegetation for food.

Wallaby and joey
Buzzards and foxes could pose a threat to the joey

"They've no natural predators, although the joey could possibly be nabbed by a buzzard or a fox," he said.

"A large dog could be a risk, but then a wallaby has the speed to escape."

Mr Nash said the wallaby did not appear nervous of him, but was scared off by a cat.

"She bounced off over a hedge and was gone and I couldn't see her after that," he said.

"It was very strange - I couldn't believe what I was seeing."

Experts said wallabies were well known for being able to find each other in the wild.



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