Kangaroos – The 100 Days Project: Day 83 [18]

Kangaroos and Fences

Photo: Ray Drew

If kangaroos can jump up to three metres high, a guest asked at dinner the other night (perhaps they’d seen my post about cluster fencing), then how come we see all these pictures of roos panicking, running along fences? Why don’t they just jump over them? Those fences are taller than usual, but they’re nowhere near three metres!

A fair question, I suppose, and an important one if, like me, you’re going to make arguments about fences (along with humans, dingoes, drought) as one of the major enemies of roos and threats to their survival. But when it comes to the matter of roos and fences there are quite a few things to consider. Just because some roos – let’s presume we’re talking about Eastern Greys for the time being – have been seen to jump as high as three metres doesn’t mean that they all can do so. And to be able to jump that high probably also requires a fair momentum, and therefore a fair run-up.

Firstly, not all fences come in situations where one can achieve such a run-up, and secondly, and far more pertinently, it would be foolish to think that all roos were capable of jumping to a height of three metres in any circumstances. Perhaps 10% can, perhaps 20%; almost certainly not 80 or 90 or 100%. There’s the matter of fitness to be considered, general condition, health: animals who are not so fit or so healthy may not be able to do it. There’s also the matter of age: older animals may not be able to do it, and some younger animals – pouch and at-foot joeys – almost certainly won’t be able to do it. Nor mothers with pouch joeys.  It may be that, if startled or on the move, most of a mob will be able to clear an average farm fence (0.9 metres), but even then there will be some who can’t do it.

Such points merely scratch the surface, but give the idea. A fence of 1.8 metres is considered adequate to contain kangaroos. If those who can jump such fences do so, chances are they’ll be leaving their mob behind.

A small post. A filler. I think I’ve done it for the photo.

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ARCOHAB Inc.

PO Box 396

Katoomba NSW 2780

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