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These children at the Red Cliff camping area in the Yuraygir National Park in September 2014 were lucky that this kangaroo buck was not in the mood for fighting. They perceived the roo to be not unlike a family pet or like a giant version of the soft toys in the young girl’s pockets. Image: Stephen Otton

Kangaroo capers: a cautionary tale

These children at the Red Cliff camping area in the Yuraygir National Park in September 2014 were lucky that this kangaroo buck was not in the mood for fighting. They perceived the roo to be not unlike a family pet or like a giant version of the soft toys in the young girl’s pockets. Image: Stephen Otton
These children at the Red Cliff camping area in the Yuraygir National Park in September 2014 were lucky that this kangaroo buck was not in the mood for fighting. They perceived the roo to be not unlike a family pet or like a giant version of the soft toys in the young girl’s pockets. Image: Stephen Otton

 
It’s easy to feel complacent around kangaroos; the danger of being attacked is not always obvious –after all, they freely share the valley’s golf courses, national parks, backyards and parks with humans.
My property is home to a mob (that is always changing); and there’s a dominant buck my wife and I call ‘Hoppy’. He first appeared some time ago as an orphan not long out of the pouch.
Over time, he has taken control, having fought off several similar-sized and sometimes bigger bucks who were interested in his ‘girls’.
Two weeks ago, I was walking towards my backyard through a relatively narrow area, thinking the kangaroo before me was Hoppy. When I asked him to move, it became apparent it wasn’t him at all.
He reared up on his tail, towering above me and took a swipe with his paws, which are razor sharp. I parried his swipe with my left hand, receiving a scratch before his paw continued on to rip my jeans and graze the flesh beneath.
I fell to the ground –the best form of defence – and yelled as he stood over me. My wife reacted instinctively, not thinking about her own safety, running towards the kangaroo. The buck reared and chased her.
Luckily, she fell flat on her face on the muddy ground as the buck lurched towards her.
The kangaroo returned to me, still lying in the bushes. I grabbed a hand-full on either side from where I lay and shook them while continuing to yell at the confused macropod.
The buck hopped away; however, he hung around for some time, defiant of any shooing I sent his way.
The scene was pure slapstick – of the type you might see on a funniest video show – but the danger was real … I was lucky.

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