The Kangaroo is used as a national symbol of Australia, its image is on some of our currency, it is on the national coat of arms (together with the emu) and is the red flying kangaroo is the proud emblem of Qantas our national airline. It used to be that anyone from overseas expected to see them hopping down the roads in the major cities, as I did when I arrived in this country as a teenager, but this is of course not the case. Living in the country, as I do, they are quite a common site in the surrounding paddocks, and there are certain roads one is advised to avoid at dusk due to the risk of hitting them as they move from different areas, and crossing roads as they need.
This is a very common sign on roads around where I live – a warning of their presence and advice for drivers to slow down. One never wants to collide with a kangaroo, because apart from injuring or killing it, impact with a large animal travelling at up to 40-50kms an hour can cause major damage to the car and passengers. I have hit a kangaroo, luckily neither I nor it were going very fast, it escaped unhurt, but my car needed new headlights.
When I moved here seven years ago, there was a small mob of about 6-8 Eastern Greys which lived in the local area and which I would see occasionally. They tended to stay under cover by day, but come out of the forest to feed by night. They would often come through my property as they grazed for food, and were always more obvious through winter. They are not tame, but are flighty and will usually hop away from people, one does not get close to them as they can be aggressive if threatened, doing terrible damage with their hind legs. They are know to be able to kill dogs that harass them in the same way. I have been aware of increasing numbers for some time, but this morning I saw the whole mob in a paddock about 100 metres from my gate. Having my camera with me as usual, I stopped to try and take a photograph of them, but they did not stay for long as I got out of the car. The header above shows only some of them, I estimate there were well over 30 in the whole group.
Sometimes there are single animals which live apart from the mob, often older males who may have been replaced as the alpha male by a younger fellow, and one needs to be particularly wary of them. I was told recently that if you unexpectedly come face to face with one, the best thing to do is to lie flat on your face on the ground, as the animal cannot then sit back on its tail and rip you with its legs. I hope I never have to test this out! This week though, twice there has been a young male on its own in my front garden when I opened my curtains. I managed to open the front door quietly, creep outside and take these shots of it from the safety of my verandah.