Kangaroos may seem cute, but they’re dangerous animals, as an Armidale woman discovered on Monday.
A woman in Helen Avenue was taken to the Armidale Hospital’s emergency department after the animal savaged her.
“A neighbour was shushing it out of my yard,” eyewitness Laurie Williams said. “It was shooing along rather fine.”
The woman approached the animal to feed it some bread.
“She started to go a little towards it,” Mr Williams said, “and then the kangaroo leaped and gashed her and scratched her.”
The woman suffered deep lacerations in the arms, on the shoulders, and across the chest, Mr Williams said.
The kangaroo normally stays in a back paddock behind the houses.
“We've seen it out there of an evening, and sometimes in the morning,” Mr Williams said.
“All its lady friends come and visit it out there. It’s been contained out the back, but it's found its way around here. It was in my yard this morning, scratching at the fence where the dog was barking."
Neighbours are concerned.
“We can't have an animal like that, that's going to attack people, whether it be native or not,” Mr Williams said. “We don’t want other people being hurt.
“We understand that the kangaroo's got to have a life of its own. We don’t want it put down, but if we can have it shifted, that would be brilliant. It doesn't know [what it's doing]."
“Don’t approach them, even if they’re nice and cuddly,” warned Sandra O’Brien, whose mother and brother live in the street. “They’re very unpredictable. They can kill you with one blow, if they get you in the right spot.
“If they're after feed, let them have a feed, and be on their way. That's what it'd be after, I'd say, if it's not injured or sick.”
Two months ago, a child was playing with a kangaroo in the back paddock, when the animal wounded the kid in the arm. It is not believed the same animal was involved in both incidents.
Safety around kangaroos
Kangaroos are wild animals, and should be treated with caution.
While herbivorous, males can reach 2.3 metres from head to tail, weigh 95 kg, and their powerful hind legs can disembowel people.
They are particularly dangerous in the mating season; when protecting joeys; or if startled.
The government advises:
- Do not walk directly towards a kangaroo
- Do not stand up tall, stare, or hold your arms out towards a kangaroo
- Do not allow your dog to approach a kangaroo
- Do not feed kangaroos
- Do not go near a kangaroo that is growling or clucking
If you feel threatened by a kangaroo, move well clear. Try not to attract the kangaroo’s attention, and keep your head and arms low.
Wait until the kangaroo has moved away before continuing on your way. If you need to, carefully retreat in a crouched or crawling position to a safe location or distance away. If you can, position an object such as a tree or fence between you and the kangaroo, and call for help. Alert your helper to the potential danger.
Do not turn your back on it and run. A large male can easily outrun you, and still kick at the same time.
Turn side-on, and protect the front of your body with your arms, keeping your head as far away from the animal as possible.
If you are attacked, drop to the ground and curl into a ball with your hands protecting your face and throat.
Try to remain calm and still until the animal moves away, or if you can, keep low to the ground and move behind some form of cover. Report incidents to your local authorities.