Kangaroos are usually peaceful animals and, as they are vegetarians,
would not attack humans because animals normally only attack because they
need food or out of self defense. Despite their peaceful appearance they
are formidable fighters. Most problems probably originate from people
feeding them so they come to expect food and get grumpy when they don't
get it. Sometimes drought conditions bring them into towns where there
is still water and green grass, like sometimes happens in Canberra. There
are a few recorded kangaroo attacks, though we have been able too find
only human death by roo attack which occurred in New South Wales in 1936
where a hunter was killed when he tried to rescue his two dogs from a
fight with a kangaroo.
New research by PhD student Guy Ballard shows more than triple the expected
number of kangaroo attacks between South Grafton and Coffs Harbour on
the New South Wale North Coast.
Prompted by two kangaroo attacks on children in Grafton in 1999 and 2002,
his research over the past two years has since been extended. He said
they had thought there would be three to five attacks in the past two
years but there's already been 15 to 20 reports.
Arthur's Creek, Victoria, November 2009
49 Year old Chris Rickard was walking around his property together with
his dog, a blue heeler named Rocky.
They stumbled upon a sleeping kangaroo, who woke up and tried to get away,
chased by the dog Rocky. The kangaroo them jumped in to the water and
the dog followed. In a self defence move typical for kangaroos the kangaroo
grabbed the dog with its front paws and held it under water to drown it.
By now Chris had caught up with them and leapt into the water too to save
his dog from the five foot roo, but the roo was not giving up the dog
just like that and ripped in to Chris too. He received a big gash on his
forehead and several deep gashes on his abdomen and chest while he was
under water trying to pull his half drowned dog away from the roo and
make his way back to shallower water, the roo only finally backed off
a bit when Chris managed to elbow it in the throat. During an interview
in the local hospital he said that he didn't think he'd ever be able to
watch Skippy on TV again.
Burpengary, Queensland, March 2004
Burpengary "killer-kangaroos" on the lookout for more victims.
Photo by Jodie OBrien
Sylvia Aldren, 48 was picking roses outside in the garden outside her
house in Burpengary on the outskirts of Brisbane when she noticed a few
kangaroos nearby. One large one approached her and then pushed her to
the ground and repeatedly kicked, bit and scratched her as family and
friends watched in horror. She was taken to Caboolture hospital in her
blood covered dress with injuries to her chest, thighs, arms and legs
but released a few hours later with puncture marks, bruising and deep
scratches all over her body. Other people in the area claim a mob of at
least 50 kangaroos that live nearby have terrorized them for years and
also on occasion attacked them.
Canberra July 2004
Killer kangaroos claimed the lives of two dogs and injured at least one
person in Canberra during the first week of July 2004. Christine Canham
was walking her four golden retrievers around Dunlop Ponds in Canberra's
northern suburbs when her dog, Summer, had a run-in with a kangaroo who
then held him under water and drowned him. Drought conditions have made
the kangaroos change their usual behaviour and become active in daytime
and fiercely defend water sources and feed patches.They have moved from
nature reserves to Canberra's better-watered areas, such as sports fields
and around ponds, where locals like to walk their dogs at dusk . Locals
living in the national capital have been told how to avoid attacks by
the mad marsupials. Don't approach a kangaroo when it is standing up and
looking straight at you, especially if it growls or snorts. People have
also been told to keep their dogs on a leash. In the same week a woman
was badly scratched while she was walking with a small poodle and got
too close to a large male kangaroo. Authorities can not do too much about
it as culling them within city limits is out of the question because of
ACT firearms laws. In the past former governor-general Bill Hayden and
his successor William Deane became irritated by kangaroos overrunning
their gardens at Yarralumla and asked unsuccesfully for them to be shot.
Near the city at Googong Dam authorities did start culling kangaroos but
animal liberationists protested and stopped them temporarily.
Canberra March 2009
One night in March 2009 all was quiet in Beat Ettlin's house in Canberra
and all were peacefully asleep until around 2 AM he was woken by the sound
of smashing glass splintering and in the dark saw something big jumping
across his bed.
Awoken from his deep sleep he was still trying to figure out what the
hell was happening here when his son yelled from the neighbouring room
that there was a kangaroo in his room!!!
Dressed in his undies Beat rushed to the rescue as the kangaroo was quite
capable of injuring his children, and he somehow managed to wrestle the
mad marsupial out the door, although he suffered numerous scratches to
his body and his undies got shredded too. The kangaroo had cut itself
on broken glass as it flew in through the window and left a trail of blood
through the house but once dumped outside it disappeared quickly into
Cairns, Queensland, December 2009
Just because a wallaby is a bit smaller than a kangaroo does not mean
that it can not do any damage,
A two year old girl was savagely attacked by a wallaby at White Rock on
the south side of Cairns in December 2009.
Tamar Hutchins and her daughter Susan were feeding their horses when suddenly
the wallaby emerged from the bush and attacked Susan. The wallaby had
her head in its mouth and was slamming its back legs into her repeatedly,
causing wounds to the left side of her body and face. If I had not seen
it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it, her mother Tamar said
Charleville, Queensland, July 2011
94 Year old Phyllis Johnson was attacked and kicked several times by
a kangaroo and taken to hospital for treatment for cuts and scratches.
Police who were called in had to use capsicum spray to fend off the roo,
until it hopped away in to field.
On the request of Phyllis's son the kangaroo was euthanased Environment
County Durham, U.K.
A police man was bitten on the knee by a wallaby that had become a celebrity
with the nickname Skippy after it had been hopping around County Durham
in north-east England for several weeks, leading to traffic chaos and
spectacular local media reports. Police Sergeant Eddie Bell thought it
was a Bennetts wallaby, native to Tasmania, who might be an escaped pet
or there was a possibility it had ventured away from a mob living in the
Pennines in Yorkshire. The shire has previously had wallabies hopping
around, as much as fifty at one time but most of them died in a sever
winter in 1963.
Emerald Beach near Coffs Harbour, January 2010
A report emailed to us by Alan Jones:
I am an active 77 year old male living on a small property in the Emerald
Beach area, north of Coffs Harbour NSW. Thirty years ago we used to see
only an occasional kangaroo around. Over the last 5 years all that has
changed. There are now scores of kangaroos to be seen at any time around
and in our property. However, I have never ever been attacked or even
threatened by a kangaroo. The normal thing was that at my approach to
any, they would hop away. Yesterday (15/01/2010) was different.
It was a fine, warm day. About 10am I was walking down a hill to a small
enclosed area. My path took me to about 7 metres from where a small group
(3or 4) kangaroos were lying down. At my approach a young one promptly
hopped away. Then two adults stood up. I expected them to hop away too.
However, without warning one of them came straight for me, uttering a
kind of hissing sound. It knocked me to the ground and I remember using
my arms and legs as effectively as I could to keep it at bay. After a
few seconds it moved away, but as I stood up it came at me again. I didn’t
have time to find a stone or stick to defend myself. I grabbed and twisted
its left upper limb and it left the scene. I didn’t wait around
to see if it would come back.
My injuries were superficial abrasions to the right forearm, both legs
and right buttock. My long sleeved shirt and trousers were badly ripped.
Hopefully the kangaroo had a sore arm.
The cause of the attack was unlikely to have been anything to do with
food. We have never fed the roos on our property. There is a plentiful
coverage of juicy fresh grass around. I suspect the attack may have been
to do with an aggressive male protecting his small harem..
Grafton, New South Wales, October 1996
Click pic to enlarge to fully appreciate the size of the claws on this
Photo by Lyn Rose
Steven Shorten, 13, was enjoying a game of golf at the Grafton District
Golf Club. He hit a ball a bit off course and went looking for it but
when he left the golfcourse and stepped into bushland he got attacked
by a 1.5 metre high kangaroo that grabbed and repeatedly jumped on him,
resulting in massive facial wounds and cuts to his abdomen, back and legs.
His father Rodney Shorten sued the golf club and claimed A$750,000 for
physical injuries and emotional damage as the kids at school now nick
named his son Skippy after the legendary life saving TV kangaroo. Though
first dismissed by a local court the father took the case to the Supreme
Court in Canberra that ruled in his favour. An amount to be paid out is
yet to be decided , the judge first wants to hear evidence from four other
kangaroo attacks on golfers.
Monto, Queensland, June 2003
In June 2003 Doug Lawson of Monto, Queensland, claims he was chased into
his house by a kangaroo that attacked him. His wife saw him running into
the house with blood on his face, the roo then attacked him once more
and knocked him down, Doug defended himself with a broom and his wife
Pauline used a hose and they managed to convince the mad marsupial to
give up the fight and leave the house, leaving a shaken, bruised and scratched
couple behind. Doug reckons the kangaroo was not provoked but might have
been after food.
A man was found unconscious next to his moped by police. When the man
regained consciousness he told police that a kangaroo had unexpectedly
crossed his path and he had collided with it and was knocked off his bike.
He was subsequently taken to the police station for a blood alcohol test.
The test turned out negative and not much later a report came in that
a traveling circus nearby was missing a kangaroo, the man was released
from custody with an apology.
Port Maquarie, November 2011
Two year old Zakkiah Galeas was playing on his family's three hectare
property near Port Maquarie when a female eastern grey kangaroo attacked
His mother who was eight months pregnant came to his aid, although with
little success, and finally his father managed to fight off the kangaroo.
Zakkiah was rushed to hospital with a bloody face, a puncture in his chest,
a gash on his leg, and two large gouges across his face, and he required
Several neighbours claimed to have also been attacked recently.
Port Maquarie, June 2012
Kirrily McWilliams lives south of Port Macquariewas when she was confronted
by a growling female eastern grey kangaroo in the backyard of her property.
She got away unhurt but the next day the mad marsupial was back and it
grabbed her dog, which was not a small one being a 65kg. mastiff.
Every time she called National Parks and Wildlife Services for help but
all she got was replies to ignore the roo.
But a day later while she was walking down the driveway the kangaroo jumped
towards her at high speed, there were no trees to hide behind nearby so
Kirrilly just rolled into a ball on the ground in self defence, the roo
pounced on her a few times which left her with scratches and a foot long
gash in her back and some torn clothing.
Her husband was attacked later that day too but he was lucky to have a
shovel in his hands to defend himself.
NPWS finally issued a permit to kill the roo a day later but by that time
the animal had left the area and attacked another person.
Kangaroo attack movies
The other side;
But before you start thinking Australia is full of 'killer roos' read
In September 2003 a real life version of the famous Skippy from TV saved
the life of farmer Len Richards of Morwell, eastern Victoria by alerting
his family that he was lying unconscious nearby. He had been checking
a tree in a paddock about 300 metres from the house during stormy weather,
when he was hit on the head by a falling branch and knocked unconscious.
The RSPCA said the 10-year-old western grey, known as "Lulu",
who had been the family's pet for years, should be nominated for a national
bravery award and indeed a bit later she was awarded the National Animal
Valor Award. Not only that, Lulu now has her own website www.luluthekangaroo.com.au
where you can buy Lulu T-shirts, Lulu books, Lulu bumperstickers etc.
Do you know of, or have survived, a kangaroo attack? Then