Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Looking at a mob of wary Eastern Grey kangaroos can be like looking at a display of cement garden statues at the local plant nursery. They stand motionless. Only their ears continue to twitch and turn, seemingly to 360 degrees, ever alert for the slightest wisp of sound. They are frozen with fear.

The effort to stand motionless must be overwhelming because one of them always gives in – it starts with a slight sniff of the nose or twitch of the head and then, like a tightly wound spring that uncoils in an instant, one flees. The sudden thumping alarm set off by the bolter causes the whole group to catapult outwards. Unlike a flock of parrots that lift in synchrony the mob of kangaroos mindlessly explode in all directions, erratic zigzagging across the plains, confusing predators with their unpredictability.

The large muscular males quickly traverse the ground with their incredibly powerful hind legs. Energy is stored in these legs and long tail like it is stored in the springs of a pogo stick. The elastic storage of hopping energy in their tendons is released into an effortless bounding motion. The females, often weighted down with joey-filled pouches, are not so fast. Out-of-pouch youngsters try to keep up with their mothers. No thought goes into which way is safest and often they will hop straight into the path of oncoming traffic. Slam! Instant death. Beauty in motion and then a motionless corpse – food for scavengers. The luck of the draw!

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9 thoughts on “Mob Observations

  1. Yes indeed. That is a wonderful piece of writing, Gabrielle. That truck just come out of nowhere and the motion of the mob is perfectly captured in the prose. A lovely read, thankyou.

  2. I wish I didn’t care, but I do. They get hit nearly every day up here – there’s a man you call when it happens and he picks up the carcass (or pulls it away from the road when it’s out of town).

    1. Bob Irwin would disagree – in some parts there are too many of them, but not everywhere (and it depends on the species) – I know farmers hate them (that is why you don’t see any kangaroos for miles when there is a cattle farm – they’ve got rid of them or scared them off). There’s a few people in Woodgate who would like a cull – but I don’t think that will happen unless someone gets seriously injured.

    1. I agree. Plus they may look like they are everywhere but it can be a bit on an illusion – the only way to tell is to do proper aerial surveys and to look at the distribution of the species and type of kangaroos/wallabies/potaroos etc., across the whole of the country – not just in one spot.

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