My Bouncy Friend!

“Who’s a good kangaroo? That’s right, you are!”

Situated on the grounds of the Warrook Cattle Farm is a small menagerie, featuring many excellent examples of Australian wildlife.  Grey kangaroos are shorter than their taller red kangaroo cousins, who live mostly in the desert.  Grey kangaroos live primarily in the bush, and are usually shy around humans, given that many can be found wandering around suburbs of Australia.  Despite their literal name, their fur is colored dark beige, with just a few dark spots.  Their underbelly and hind legs, however, are a more natural grey.  I attempted to approach one, nice and slowly.  I noticed one stretched out by the pond.  I didn’t see a pouch, so it had to be a male, or boomer (a female roo is called a flier).  I knelt down, ever so carefully to get a closer look at this unique creature.  I had never been this close to a kangaroo, let alone come into physical contact with one.  Its ears and nose seemed to twitch in a cheerful way, just like a rabbits would.  In a way, they were like rabbits.  A leaf eating, cute-looking, bouncy critter that is universally loved.  But would this one love me back?  My right hand stretched out as I stroked the fur across its side.  Their fur wasn’t as coarse or wiry as I had thought it would be.  I had thought perhaps more like a horse’s hide, but their pelts are more similar to a rabbit.  Fairly short, but dense as I ran my fingers through it.  It was then that this kangaroo got up, stood on its hind legs, and stared right at me.  I was prepared to back away, in the event it would charge; knowing that kangaroos are known for their powerful kicks and punches; where do you think the name “boxing kangaroo” comes from?  But instead, it stared at me, while tilting its head in a curious-like state.  As if to think, “Who is this strange two-legged creature with no claws or paws?  And why is he smiling at me?”  That’s when the most amazing thing happened.  This kangaroo slowly crept up towards me and raised its head, as if he was inviting me to scratch his neck.  I couldn’t believe it, but I would not look a gift horse, or rather gift kangaroo, in the mouth.  I slowly ran my fingers across his neck, and my heart skipped a beat.  Then he lowered his head and turned his face towards mine.  I went right back to patting his side and studying every aspect of his physical form.  I noticed how sleek his body was; how aerodynamic he was.  Kangaroos have such a way of getting around; I admit that if I could bounce from place to place, rather than walk, I wouldn’t complain!  I’d probably get motion sick, but who wouldn’t want that built-in luxury?  Before I got up, one more amazing encounter occurred.  I reached for my camera -remembering to turn the flash off as to not scare him-when he crept close to my face.  He was sniffing me, as if to see if this human could be trustworthy, let alone friendly and not a threat.  I had no intention of eating him or hunting him.  But if he thought I was bothering him by petting him, I would oblige by backing off.  They say animals can tell if you’re friend or foe simply by smelling you.  I held my breath and tried very hard to not break out in a sweat or let my hands quiver in fear.  The grey kangaroo, however, wrinkled his nose like a rabbit then tilted his head once again.  His head crept up on my right shoulder, and he just froze there.  Nothing happened.  I figured he was either scared, or was confident that this human wanted nothing more than to be its friend.  With my confidence returning, I raised my arms and hands, and rested both of them on his back in a warm embrace.  In laymen’s terms, a hug.  I had successfully bridged the gap between human-kangaroo relations.  I had slowly, and in just a few minutes, befriended a kangaroo!  His fur felt rather warm and soft, and I caressed his neck and head carefully as to not squeeze him.  It was a surreal moment that took me out of reality for just a few seconds.  That’s when I broke out my camera and began clicking away.

“Ready for my close up, mate!”

“Someone please scratch my back…”

I learned one more thing about kangaroos: they are such camera hogs!  Every picture I took, he seemed to strike a pose, even without trying!  They’re such laid back animals!  Their personality is very much a relaxed and friendly one.  I had no idea they were such hams for cameras.  In one shot, he protruded his nose towards the ground.  In another, he showed me his tail.  And one shot I loved in one where it looks like he’s smiling under a tree, while his paws are patting the ground.  I always knew kangaroos were cute and loveable, but I couldn’t imagine what it would be like meeting one in real life, until now.  It is, dare I say, one the most magical encounters I have ever had.


About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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One Response to My Bouncy Friend!

  1. Wow Jared! What a story! I had no idea kangaroos were into hugs! Maybe just into hugging you :) Thanks for telling the tale, very very entertaining, I felt like I was right there.

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