Is mystery beast on Hampstead Heath a wallaby?

A wallaby and her joey

A wallaby and her joey - Credit: Archant

If you decide to take a stroll on Hampstead Heath, you might expect to see dozens of dogs playing in the long grass or walking on their leads.

Is this a wallaby on Hampstead Heath? Picture: Edmund King

Is this a wallaby on Hampstead Heath? Picture: Edmund King - Credit: Archant

What you would not expect to find as you make your way along the winding paths is a wallaby.

But this was exactly what Edmund King thought he saw as he took his dog for a walk on Thursday evening near Fitzroy Park in Highgate.

He managed to take a photo of the creature before it ran away but his camera phone failed to take a distinct photograph.

Golders Hill Park Zoo in the Hampstead Heath Extension in Golders Green houses wallabies but a spokesperson said that none of their animals had escaped in recent years.

London Zoo in Regent’s Park also confirmed that none of their animals could be roaming the Heath.

The City of London Corporation, which runs the Heath, said that there had been no official reports of wallaby sightings.

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A spokesperson said: “We haven’t spotted any wallabies though there may be a few Australians lurking around.

“We’ve had no unusual sightings in recent times so it seems this is a case like the Loch Ness monster, more imagined than actual reality.”

Wallabies belong to the same family as kangaroos, though they are much smaller, and are native to Australia.

Officially, the only exotic creatures to find a home in Hampstead Heath are red swamp crayfish, which live in the ponds, and a python that was found dead near the ladies bathing pond this summer.