Monday, 1 September 2008

Skippy the Ripper

Never get on the wrong side of a kangaroo. A jogger in Sunbury (NW of Melbourne) inadvertently separated a male Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) from its mob and suffered the consequences.
Paramedics treated a large scratch on the man's head, and smaller incisions on his chest, arms and hands.

He was transported to hospital in a stable condition.

Kangaroos often fight by wrestling with their opponents. The first video below demonstrates this as the incredibly annoying Marty Monster gets his comeuppance at the paws of a large male Red Kangaroo (M. rufus) called Rags. Or possibly Rambo.

But when a kangaroo gets really serious, it kicks out with its hind feet. Now, a simple belt in the belly would be painful enough. Those kicks are powered by muscles that can accelerate a 70 kg animal to a hopping speed of more than 40km/h. But it's worse than that. Kangaroos have highly-modified hind feet — the fourth toe is elongate and tipped with a big, heavy claw. So a kangaroo can deliver a kick with a real point. The second video shows what happens when a shirty Eastern Grey takes a disliking to a tourist in the Grampians in western Victoria. (Unaccountably, this video is categorized on You Tube as 'comedy'.)

My most recent encounter with wild grey kangaroos was much more pleasant. We all parted on good terms.


Dave Coulter said...


Mosura said...

That second video is a bit scary. I remember Bert Newton getting into a bit of a scrap with a kangaroo on live TV once.

Dark Orange said...

Joey, who you know, is a roo carer. Despite getting a little old and frail, she is still the person the authorities call in when they get a confused and frightened roo in suburbia.

She described her technique for subdueing them to me when I was last in Adelaide:

Step one - show no fear.

Step two - Stride up to the beast in a confident manner. Do not hesitate or show any signs of fear. It will rise up in a fighting stance and shape up to you.

Step three - stare at it in the eyes. (It is very important that at this point to not show any fear!)

Step four - While maintaining eye contact, reach up and place your hands on it's shoulders. (Joey described this by bringing her hands up to head-height) DO NOT FLINCH OR HESITATE OR SHOW ANY SIGNS OF FEAR

Step five Twist the roo sideways while pushing down on its shoulders, and when it is on the ground, keep a tight hold while you jump on it, keeping the head free for somebody to put a hession bag over it's head. It will be mildly upset at this point, so make sure you hang on tight.

Note that this proceedure requires you to be the alpha, the slightest sign of weakness or fear during any part of the proceedure will give it all the confidence to leave your gutless body bleeding on the ground.

Snail said...

I think that last para is the most important one, DO! Joey knows here stuff.

It really disturbs me that a lot of people don't recognise that, despite their cute little faces and big doe eyes, kangaroos are a) wild animals and more importantly b) big wild animals with razor-sharp claws.

(Mind you, I still think that Rags should have been left to kick the stuffing out of Marty.)

Duncan said...

The chapter in On Our Selection by Steele Rudd, where Dad gets into holts with an old man kangaroo still has me chortling no matter how many times I read it. The roo gets one hind toe hooked in Dad's belt, and the description of his trouser's inexorable descent while Dad spreads his legs wider and wider to try and prevent same is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

What needed 32 stitches?
The jeans' groin or the man's.

Children, don't try dark orange's recipe at home.
In fact children, don't interact at close quarters with animals in their own territory unless you have to.

I'm amazed at how people will dive happily into the water with dolphins, for example, with only the advice of a tour operator to follow wrt behaviour, for gawsakes.
Especially given the antagonism often displayed towards supposedly expert behaviour shapers in aquaria.

But I didn't come here for this thread - just got sidetracked as usual by our host's nose for a story.


Snail said...

I visited Uluru not long after the whole sorry Chamberlain case ... and got a lovely photograph of a tourist couple sending their toddler off to feed a dingo.

Snail said...

Duncan, here 'tis ... (Thanks to Project Gutenberg.)

"At last the brute fixed his deadly toe in Dad's belt.

It was an anxious moment, but the belt broke, and Dad breathed freely again. He was acting entirely on the defensive, but an awful consciousness of impending misfortune assailed him. His belt was gone, and his trousers began to slip–slip–slip! He called wildly to the others for God's sake to do something. They helped with advice. He yelled "Curs!" and "Cowards!" back at them. Still, as he danced around with his strange and ungainly partner, his trousers kept slipping — slipping. For the fiftieth time and more he glanced eagerly over his shoulder for some haven of safety. None was near. And then — oh, horror! — down THEY slid calmly and noiselessly. Poor Dad! He was at a disadvantage; his leg work was hampered. He was hobbled. Could he only get free of them altogether! But he couldn't — his feet were large. He took a lesson from the foe and jumped — jumped this way and that way, and round about, while large drops of perspiration rolled off him. The small dogs displayed renewed and ridiculous ferocity, often mistaking Dad for the marsupial."