It is often cute when a youngster has a picture taken on Santa’s lap. What made this one different was that it was not a child but a joey.
Jim and Joyce Kramer, owners of a petting zoo and exotic animal farm northwest of Parsons, brought a baby kangaroo, Nelson, to the Galesburg community center Sunday evening to meet Santa Claus.
“The kids seemed to like him,” Jim Kramer said. “It went over well.”
The Kramer Petting Zoo brought about 35 animals to Artist Alley this year, and the Kramers hold an exotic animal sale three times a year. Nelson, who is about six months old, was brought from Nebraska to the most recent sale in October, and Jim said he bought Nelson for his wife.
The sales attract 250 to 300 buyers from six states, and are held in March, May and October. Jim could not say how many animals, including birds, are brought, but said it was several hundred.
Nelson is being bottle-fed and spends most of his time in a pouch. Joyce takes him to Altamont, where she works as a secretary, and lets him out to hop around during her lunch break.
Nelson’s visit to Santa is the latest of a string of Facebook appearances.
Jim said he has his own room and they have taken him to several places for pictures, like trying out a recliner in a furniture store.
“We raise several exotics ourselves,” he said, noting that besides lemurs, porcupines, camels, white buffalo and other animals on 160 acres, the Kramers also have another kangaroo who is about a year old.
“I’ve had a number of things I don’t have now,” Jim said. “I’ve had a few animals I don’t want back.”
Jim said he bought the older kangaroo for breeding. Males can sometimes become aggressive, so he said Nelson will probably be neutered and kept as a pet.
Kangaroos can live eight to 10 years in the wild, but live up to 20 years in captivity.