kangaroo
Australia, Environment

Kangaroos Hopping Down the Street

I never thought I’d be confirming an urban myth – that kangaroos hop down Australian streets.

Australia’s a first world country, (with a few exceptions), with over 22 million occupants, clustered in a few sprawling metropolises hugging the east coast. Noone still believes kangaroos hop along our city streets, do they?

It seems I was wrong.

Walking the dog around our new Home by the Sea, yesterday, I wasn’t quick enough to snag a photo of the Eastern Grey Male Kangaroo hopping down this street between the rows of newly built homes.

(I did get a video of the sweet creature, as you will see below).

What he hoped to find to eat along the street, I wasn’t sure. Kangaroos eat a range of grasses, herbs and shrubs. Perhaps Mrs Baldry’s lavender was to his liking?

The roo was headed in the wrong direction for grass, so I tried to shoo it back towards the Eco Corridor and wetland areas to the west and away from the traffic as you will see in the following video.

Eco corridor

(Hopefully the embedded video works. Let me know if you can’t see it or it says unsupported which can happen on mobile phones).

Kangaroo in the Suburbs

We all know that rain can make the grass grow, while you are watching it. During rains, the water that runs off from the road surface collects in the verges along the edge of the streets and roads, resulting in a flush of lush, green grassy growth. Grass that many Australian herbivorous animals enjoy eating. Especially Kangaroos, wallabies and wombats.

I think you can guess what happens when they feed on these verges, after rain. Roadkill stats rise, not just in the wake of floodwaters ravaging their habitat, but also the lush growth that entices the animals out towards the roadside verges to feed.

Then this happened on my way home yesterday. Apologies for the poor quality of the dashcam footage.

Sliding Kangaroos on a Wet Road

Drunken Kangaroos

There might just be another explanation for the sliding kangaroos, which from my perspective appear unhurt by the incident and hop away okay.

As I discovered, reading an ABC article, kangaroos can become slightly drunk or disorientated on eating too much lush new grass, (which we have plenty of at the moment), and especially so, if a particular form of pasture grass has been consumed.

This can be known as Philaris poisioning syndrome, making kangaroos disoriented, clumsy and loose balance. Which is fairly critical when jumping if you are a roo!

Michelle Mead, from Central Victoria’s Wildlife Rescue and Information Network, said the ailing kangaroos resembled someone who was under the influence of alcohol. The wildlife worker said the animals were indeed intoxicated and that it was likely a type of grass that was to blame. Known as phalaris or bulbous-canary grass, the introduced plant species is a common pasture crop grown to feed livestock.

The syndrome was more common in areas with limestone soils, which contained less cobalt than basalt soils, Dr Rendell said. Dr Rendell said Phalaris staggers were also more common when lush grass growth occurred, because animals digested less soil, and therefore less cobalt, in those areas.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-21/grass-to-blame-for-staggering-kangaroos/9886884?nw=0
kangaroo
Close up of our local Skippy

Kangaroos Physical Attributes and Adaptations

Kangaroos have all kinds of fascinating physical adaptations for existing in dry country, including suspending pregnancies and foetal growth in drier weather, inducing them to coincide with the grass growth after rainfall, as well as methods for keeping themselves cool in intense heat.

They are not usually active in the middle of the day, conserving their energy. Seeing them jump around at 1pm on some idle Tuesday was unsual.

Some myths and truths about Kangaroos

One can hope that this doesn’t happen too often as they are likely to run out of luck crossing that road.

stpa logo

51 thoughts on “Kangaroos Hopping Down the Street”

  1. I love the first clip it was looking at you like um excuse me but what are you doing here. I have friends who have had a big male roo go through their windscreen, they were ok , glass cuts, but the police had to shoot the roo. I have never hit a roo as being a country gal that was how we were taught to drive to always be aware & if you saw 1 there would always be more. I think all the roos in our area must be passed out drunk somewhere as we haven’t seen one in a while. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the roos may have moved away looking for fresh grass, or further inland after the rain brought fresh grass. The link about the myths of the kangaroos at the bottom of the post was most revealing. I am inclined to dedicate another post to it. Fascinating creatures.
      We hit a roo on the New England Highway south years back, and it severely dented the cars side. The too hopped away but I doubt it survived. We were travelling at about 80- 100 km….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so cool! Our local large animal has affectionately been named ‘Fluffy’ by residents. Fluffy is a Black Bear. Sadly, I don’t have cool footage like you do (I am much too chicken for that).
    I’m glad you encouraged the Kangaroo towards safety.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fascinating post about the kangaroo. More and more, animals who don’t belong in cities are being sighted because human sprawl is encroaching on their habitats. I also enjoyed reading the article from your link on “diapause!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was interesting. I was aware of it but not the finer details of diapause. I am glad you enjoyed the article.
      You are absolutely right about the urban sprawl. It is threatening the survival of many species, including the Koala, which will most likely become extinction within a decade or so.

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  4. That is so cool! If I get up and walking early enough (almost never) sometimes I can see one or two coyotes walking down the streets. We have a lot of canyons around my neighborhood and I imagine they come up from them to dine on wild bunnies. Haven’t seen a wild kangaroo yet though ๐Ÿ™‚ (and, if I did, I’d probably wonder what my husband had slipped into my morning coffee).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The large roo (aka Skippy) sat still for quite some time, Mari so it was relatively easy to zoom in a bit. I think they are getting used to knowing that people are not a direct threat to them. Little do they know they are the ones wielding the most danger in terms of habitat destruction.

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  5. This made me laugh out loud. I love the idea of drunken kangaroos going bonkers in the suburbs. We have squirrels and sometimes coyote, but no kangaroos. I’m glad you’re safe during the flooding but omg this is funny.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is funny but if they are drunk and hit by cars, it is a bit sad too. Especially as this ‘mob’ of roos will probably die out. They are in a wetlands that has no connecting grazing land for them, so if they can’t sustain their small population they will die out very quickly. And faster if they keep eating that grass! It is always nice to hear that you got a laugh from my post. It is the best medicine, don’t you think?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hares! I have never seen a hare until I moved here. They have the largest ears. I thought I had a kangaroo or at least a wallaby outside my door one day and then it scampered off. We realized it was a hare when someone found a dead one at the lake’s edge. It most likely fell in the lake and couldn’t find its way out as there is a high wall around a large part of it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Animals are marvellous in their ability to adapt aren’t they? We have city park overrun by Ibis and the kangaroo was seen this morning down at the park at the end of that same street so at least one of them was okay. It did look awful as they slipped but my husband examined the footage and is certain they slipped and were not hit by the cars, so they should be okay. Maybe just pulled a muscle. Their legs and tail is highly muscular and strong. They can kick with their legs sitting on their tail so I think they will recover. I will note their presence and update you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are lucky it was a young roo Amanda and didn’t get aggressive as it wasn’t cornered or feel all that threatened by you. A good result. I would have liked to hear the oh shit oh shit version ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think they are used to us residents gawking at them, Brian. Plus the dogs were with me. But I know that roos can be aggressive. My kids were harassed by young wallabies and roos at a petting zoo (roo enclosure) because they had backpacks! The roos took exception to them.
      If you saw my magpie video in a previous post, you can probs imagine the oh sh-t version

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the urban roos have become accustomed to people. That is a downside as they become complacent much to their detriment. Cars, foolish people etc. They are wild animals and we should respect them as such, (alluding to Brian, the bushboy’s comment). Still, it is a privelege to have them so close to us.
      The same roo was spotted the next day at the park further into the estate. I think he must be after a particular type of grass that takes his fancy. I hope he survives.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. If only we coudo that, Ang! I think they are able to do this to take advantage of rainfall or lack thereof when food is plentiful or scarce. They have a baby in utero/pouch and one more mature in the pouch at the same time. They can bring on the one in utero quickly when there are good rains. This is because of the marsupial style of development. The embryo develops to a certain extent in the womb, then has to crawl, blind and half formed into the pouch where it completes its development.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember our trips some years back to Perth; we would eagerly look to any expanse of green to see if we could spot kangaroos. It was a thrill whenever we caught a glimpse of them.

    But I imagine it would so dangerous for them navigating vehicular traffic – that would send my blood pressure through the roof if they hopped across the road in front of my car like that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a Roo jumping in front of a car can send anyone’s blood pressure skyrocketing. They are fast and unpredictable. Especially dangerous are the dusk and dawn times on the highways when they are most active.

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      1. I get anxious when I see squirrels running across the road, or even birds swooping too low & close. And Iโ€™ve only ever run over a squirrel once long long long time ago – but the trauma remains

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is a deep and long held memory of the squirrel you are holding, Ju-Lyn. Is it you are worrying about running it over again? Or is it the creature itself?
          Birds swooping can be terrifying, even though one knows that they are usually protecting the nest and just want you to go away.
          The Plovers, lapwings terrify me the most. I make friends with the magpies, as you know, in order for them not to swoop on me. We are friends with the local magpie population now. I am thankful I don’t have to worry about squirrels. I imagine them to be a large animal, about the size of a large cat, and was so surprised when they were so petite. I saw my first squirrel in Germany in late 2007. Before that, I had only met them in books. Do you have them in Singapore?

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          1. I think the memory is one of those very physical, visceral memories that make me shudder when I am thinking of it. Do you ever experience these? I donโ€™t think they are fears per se, but just the thought of them brings me back to that very physical memory place.

            I do remember you make friends with the local magpies. Best to be on reasonable terms with other tenants of the area ๐Ÿ™‚

            Our squirrels in Singapore are much smaller than those Iโ€™ve see in the UK and US. They are quite funny and cute and they are mostly wary of folks.

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