A red kangaroo wearing a little shirt hops down the hallways and eats grass with a tabby cat. An anteater crawls along the banisters. A baby sloth shares story time with a human baby (both wearing matching headbands). This is what the house of Julia and Jason Heckathorn looks like during an ordinary day.
Julia, an author and illustrator of children's books, started this strange collection of animals a few years ago with Boomeroo, the red kangaroo. Born in Texas, Boomeroo was three weeks old when she arrived at Julia and Jason’s home in Virginia. Julia quickly became Boomeroo’s “mother”, and when the little 'roo needed a playmate, Larry the kitten came into the family. Soon after, Dexter and Crunchie, two sugar gliders, arrived. (A sugar glider is a type of gliding possum.)
Next came an anteater named Noche. Finally the Heckathorns began looking for one more addition to their menagerie - a baby sloth. After searching for a while, they found exactly what they wanted and Daisy the sloth joined the family... on the same day as did another baby - Alia, Julia and Jason’s baby girl!
Alia, now five months old, is best friends with Daisy, and Boomeroo is friends with Larry. Julia brings Boomeroo, Noche, and Dexter to schools to interest students in nature, and has written a series of books, using them as characters. Dexter and Crunchie have had several babies so far and are expecting more. Julia and Jason’s strange family is doing very well indeed!