CHICAGO
01/11/2013 01:19 pm ET Updated Jan 11, 2013

Brookfield Zoo Baby Kangaroo Debut: Pair Of Joeys Take A Hop Outside The Pouch (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

The newest crop of baby zoo animals for 2013 made their debut at Brookfield Zoo, with a pair of 10 and 11-month old kangaroo joeys.

Thursday, the Chicago-area zoo released a statement saying the mini marsupials are exploring the world outside their mothers' pouch, hopping about the zoo's Australia House exhibit. According to the statement, the two were born Feb. 20 and March 13 of last year to moms Daisy, 7½, and Sheila, 11.

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Brookfield Zoo's Baby Kangaroo

The reason for the nearly year-long wait for a baby kangaroo debut has to do with the development of newborn joeys: the zoo notes baby kangaroos are roughly jellybean-sized at birth and spend the next several months feeding on the mother's teat after making an unassisted crawl to the pouch.

If a joey leaves the pouch too early, the results can be grave; a joey in Serbia was scared out of its mother's pouch by a wombat and was then abandoned. Luckily, zookeepers were able to nurture the young kangaroo.

Around eight months is when the zoo says joeys typically start exploring.

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