Kangaroos – The 100 Days Project: Day 76 
Skippy and the Revenge of the Hunted
Rather hard to avoid Skippy in my Kangaroo Top Ten. The most famous kangaroo in the world, probably, subject of ninety-one episodes produced between 1967 and 1969 and broadcast, eventually, almost world-wide, with an estimated audience of 300 million. Except, of course, that while, on the television screen, there appeared to be one Skippy – a female Eastern Grey – there were in fact between nine and fifteen used in the production of each show, plus at least one pair of kangaroo-paw bottle-openers used for Skippy’s deft hand-movements (playing the piano, etc.).
Skippy was going to occupy all to herself this ninth spot in my eccentric Kangaroo Top Ten until three days ago when I came across in my in-tray an item from ABC in Western Australia concerning another kangaroo, and a doughtiness I thought Skippy might not mind sharing her top-ten position with.
Entitled Kangaroo strikes back against hunters’ car, breaks man’s jaw, the item was accompanied by a photograph of a young man who looked as if he had been in a bar-fight, his left cheek so swollen he could barely open his left eye. He and his brother had been out in the wheatbelt shooting kangaroos, and – his brother, presumably, doing the driving – this young man, a nineteen-year-old, had been leaning out the window, when one of the kangaroos he was aiming/firing at had, in this young man’s words, turned and barged the vehicle, catching the young man in the face and breaking his jaw.
Let me quote the article itself. The young man, it tells us,
was hunting with his brother in a paddock near Kellerberrin on Tuesday night when the pair spotted three kangaroos.
The 19-year-old said one of the kangaroos disappeared and, as he stuck his body out of the window to have a shot at the other two, the kangaroo launched itself at the moving car.
‘It actually collided with the side of the car and smashed the front window,’ he said.
‘Then it bounced back onto me and headbutted me straight in the jaw.’
The young man and his brother ‘regularly hunt kangaroos for food’, the article continues, ‘ but … normally they did not fight back.’
‘The kangaroos are going crazy these days. As soon as they see a car they hop right up to it and give it right back.’
Has Skippy had enough? Who knows? Attractive as the thought of rebellion and counter-offensive might be, it seems just as likely that what has really happened is that the kangaroo, disoriented by the lights, has set off in the wrong direction. It is also likely that, whatever the real story of this collision might be, the kangaroo involved will not have come off as well as the young man.
You might keep your dreams of a Spartacus-of-the-roos alive by watching the following video: ‘Angry Kangaroo Fed Up With Being Followed Attacks Car’. Sad to think that such incidents, used to ‘illustrate’ the presumed violence of kangaroos, will most probably only exacerbate the violence against them.
See the ABC western Australian article here.