Before Nick Muti left home to come to Coastal Carolina University, his dad said he could get any pet he wanted except a dog, so instead, he got a wallaby.
Muti had to go through a lot of hoops to get his wallaby, which goes by the name Boomer.
He contacted a breeder and in order for him to become Boomer’s owner, he had to read a book and take a test on each chapter. It was important for Muti to understand everything about the animal because there are common things that Boomer cannot have or be around that other pets can.
For example, Boomer cannot be around cats because the feline carries a parasite called Toxoplasmosis, which can be deadly for a wallaby.
Even after going through all those steps, Muti had to wait a year-and-a-half to get Boomer, which was just before he moved to Conway.
“Right now, Boomer is 21-weeks-old out of the pouch, but since [he is a] marsupial, [he was] born once as a fetus, crawled out of the pouch and then fully developed,” said Muti.
Boomer eats about five times a day, ranging between his bottle, carrots, grass, non-sweet fruits, vegetables and happy hopper pellets. According to Muti, it takes Boomer two months to go through a 30-pound bag.
He sleeps in a pouch next to Muti and has his own room in a walk-in closet.
Muti said getting a wallaby was tough on the wallet at first but it was well worth it.
“The initial investments are expensive, but after you have everything set, not really, not expensive at all,” said Muti. “He sees me as his mom. I’m a parent, but I’m not a parent. He’ll come over and I’ll have a bottle, and he’ll look up at me in the morning and I’ll feed him.”
Muti has had to prepare his house for Boomer, especially since he can jump double his height.
“I have a raised bed now because I don’t want him on my bed because he likes to have random accidents sometimes,” said Muti. “[In Boomer’s room, there are] tarps down, puzzle matts down and more tarps down, and I put grass on top of it so he can like hop around.”
Boomer has gained quite the following on Instagram since Muti started bringing the wallaby on campus.
“Every time I come here, 50 more followers,” said Muti. “Everyone wants to see him, everyone wants to pet him and have a good time watching him hop around because no one has ever really seen a wallaby before.”