Wendell the Wallaby

The three-year-old wallaby had led his owners through a wild chase through Eastern Ontario

The three-year-old wallaby had led his owners through a wild chase through Eastern Ontario. Photo Courtesy of Saunders Country Critters.

At the end of October I was listening to CBC radio (as per usual) at work when I heard Gary Saunders pleading with the public to look out for his lost wallaby, Wendell. Saunders owns and runs Saunders Country Critters and Garden Centre in Kemptville. There was a storm one night which knocked a branch onto Wendell’s cage, inadvertantly freeing him. Saunders and his wife Carla were fearful for their beloved wallaby, as temperatures were dropping.

I lived in Australia (where I did my masters) so I have a soft spot for Wallabys. I loved Saunders’ words of advice; should one find Wendell he would be very nervous so they should grab him by the tail and throw him into a pillowcase. The pillowcase would simulate the “pouch” for him, and though he had been out of the pouch for 3 years it would be an instant soothing sensation.

It made me wonder, if I saw a wallaby wandering around would I be able to just grab it and throw it into the pillowcase?

In the next few days Wendell’s journeys outside the Ottawa area drew my interest. There were several Wendell “pink elephant” sightings which drew hope that he was still alive and well.

I had last heard that some garbage men had come close to catching him, and that searchers were walking around with rags soaked in pee to attract Wendell’s attention.

Alas, a safe return was not to be. I was sad to learn that they found his body last week approximately 2 kilometres away from his home in Kemptville. His owners believe he was trying to come home.

An autopsy was conducted and while inconclusive, they did discover that he died between 7 and 9 days after escaping. Poor Wendell. There ended the adventure of probably one of the most famous wallabys in the province.

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