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!