ONE OF Ballarat Wildlife Park's youngest members is only just starting to leave its mother's pouch.
The wombat joey is estimated to have been born seven to eight months ago, but only fully emerged from its pouch for the first time last week.
The joey, a female, is the sixth baby for parents Coco and Banjo and it will soon be named in a competition.
Park curator Julia Leonard said the joey had emerged from the pouch a couple of times, but not too many people from the public had yet spotted her.
Ms Leonard said they first thought Coco could be pregnant when her behaviour changed earlier in the year.
"We didn't poke around, but thought we'd keep an eye on her," she said.
"When she started to have a bit of a bulge, we thought, yep she's pregnant."
Ms Leonard said the joey's first spotting was ironically on Wombat Day on October 18 - with an arm hanging out of the pouch.
She said they hoped to keep the joey at the park.
"We're upgrading our wombat enclosures - so hopefully we'll have room for her. Wombats are good educational animals because the children can pat her, and they're great experiences here at the park."
Ms Leonard said wombat joeys were very playful when they were strong enough.
"They're playful, jump and burrow and run around. They even do flips. She'll start to do that in a few weeks."
Ms Leonard said it was quite impressive that Coco and Banjo stayed together and bred over many years.
The park curator raised the orphaned mother Coco when she came into captivity in 2000.
When Coco first started visiting the park, she and Banjo become good company for one another and still share an enclosure.
"Sometimes you have to separate the father from the joey, because wombats can be quite aggressive. We've never had to. Banjo is really gentle."
Of the five joeys, there has only been one male.
Ms Leonard said they would like to have another male to extend their breeding program.