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Pet kangaroo still missing from Shawnee despite outpouring of help

The Menhusen family thinks their missing kangaroo might be lost and hiding among a herd of cattle or keeping hidden among the tall grass and trees around their home.
BY VALLERY BROWN vbrown@opubco.com Modified: November 30, 2012 at 10:42 am •  Published: November 30, 2012

The family special-orders kangaroo pellets to feed Lucy. She also has a climate-controlled shelter to live in near the home. Every evening, Lucy is let out to exercise, Menhusen said. They often take her to nearby schools for show-and-tell, and she travels in a pouch secured inside the family's sport utility vehicle. When at home, she also sleeps in a pouch inside of her shelter.

Kangaroos are the largest marsupial and are plant eaters. They can survive for long periods without drinking water by utilizing moisture in the vegetation they eat. Adult red kangaroos can run as fast as 35 mph, and females can grow up to 4.5 feet tall. They normally travel in groups called mobs.

“My husband has always wanted an exotic animal,” Menhusen said. “He wanted a giraffe, which I thought was crazy, so we talked to exotic breeders and learned female kangaroos make great pets.”

Menhusen said Lucy socializes with the family, plops down on the porch and lays around much like dog. She even plays with their oldest daughter, Layla.

“She's very much a part of the family,” Menhusen said.

Alan Varsik, deputy director of the Oklahoma City Zoo, said kangaroos are like the deer of Australia — they travel together similarly, can jump and bound, and are herbivores. While kangaroos are fast, he said young Lucy won't have the protection of a mob to help her fend off threats.

He hopes people intrigued by the possibility of owning their own pet kangaroo research the idea thoroughly.

“When people look at wild animals as pets, even if you have the best wishes and intentions, you have to know they have needs most of us don't understand,” Varsik said. “It can be a challenge because they seem people-oriented, but they haven't gone through thousands of years of domestication like dogs. They are cute and cuddly when they're younger but as they grow, they change and so do their needs.”


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