Wandering Wallaby Loose in Florida

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Residents of a small town in Florida have been startled to note a giant marsupial roaming the streets for the past few weeks. It's not a big rabbit, but a wallaby on the loose.

Texan tourist Brenda Aldrich told ClickOrlando.com that her daughter's pet wallaby escaped from its harness during a walk and hopped off into the darkness earlier in March. The Aldrichs returned to Houston, but the loose wallaby stuck around the small town of Windmere, in Orange County.

Residents have spotted the marsupial all over Windermere, reports the Web site, including the elementary school, Bay Hill, Lake Bessie and George Bailey Park. Some have even called police.

Joey Aussie Kangaroo, or JAK, the 1-year-old Wallaby, even likes watching TV -- the Discovery Channel, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Aldrich had converted a porch for the marsupial, which is best friends with Aldrich's other pet, a Yorkie named Hollister, the paper says.

Wallaby's are unusual pets to be sure. Part of the macropod family of critters native to Australia, the creatures reportedly make fun pets. According to PetPlace.com, owners need to "wallaby-proof" their homes and set up large hopping areas for the creatures, which are known to jump on counters and other high places.

For more information, visit ClickOrlando.com.

The site reports that wallabys enjoy bathing with their human owners.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Web site, a wallaby owner must obtain a class III wildlife permit, which requires the owner to fill out a questionnaire about the animals care. The permit is free and is the same class permit required for raccoons, opossums and skunks.