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A rarely-seen young Nabarlek, found curled up in his mother’s pouch after she was killed by a car, has taken up residence at Australia’s Perth Zoo. Nabarleks are also known as Pygmy Rock Wallabies.

Named Norbert, he is the only Nabarlek in a zoo anywhere, according to the Perth Zoo.

Norbert was discovered by a wildlife rehabilitator, who provided care for several months.  At the time Norbert was taken in, he weighed just 6.5 ounces (186 grams).  Because he doesn’t have the skills to survive in the wild, Norbert was brought to the Perth Zoo where he will become a pint-sized ambassador for this little-known species.  

Perth Zoo Director of Animal Health and Research Dr. Peter Mawson said adult Nabarleks are only about 12 inches (30 cm) tall.  They are rarely seen because they inhabit remote areas and emerge only at night to feed on ferns and reeds.

Nabarleks are in the macropod family of marsupials, which includes kangaroos and wallabies.  “An interesting feature is that because of the tough nature of the plants included in their diet, the four or five molar teeth in each section of the jaw progressively move forward during the Narbalek’s life, ensuring that it is never without the teeth it needs to chew its tough food. Narbaleks are the only macropod that do this,” said Dr. Mawson.

Photo credit: Perth Zoo (via Norbert the Nabarlek Becomes Perth Zoo’s Pint-sized Ambassador - ZooBorns)