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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Errant Kangaroos

The simplest and most obvious explanation for Phantom Kangaroo Sightings is that people are actually seeing kangaroos.

Wild Animals/Kangaroos

I've heard a few legends about wild kangaroos being seen in the wild in the United States despite the fact that they are only indigenous to Australia. Is that possible? Would a pack of kangarros released in the wild in the United States be able to survive?


Dear William
Thanks for your interesting question.

I have heard of accounts of kangaroos living wild in the USA and have compiled my information from a range of websites. As much of the information is repetitive, I have combined the information into an 'essay'. I have started by mentioning different reports of 'kangaroos' seen in the USA.,, and give details about ‘wild kangaroos' in the USA. The first sighting was in Richmond, Wisconsin in 1899. 

Many people have reported seeing alleged ‘carnivorous kangaroos' in urban and rural areas in California, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois. They are described as being 1.05-1.65 m tall with glowing eyes and ghostly characteristics and are sometimes called ‘Big Bunny'.
Two police officers cornered a 1.5 m kangaroo in a dark alley in Chicago in 1974. When one officer tried to handcuff it, the kangaroo screeched and became vicious, punching the officers in the face and kicking them in the shins. When more squad cars arrived, the kangaroo took off at high speed, cleared a fence and vanished from the scene. Another kangaroo jumped more than 2.4 m from a cornfield into the roadway. A truck driver saw a kangaroo and a deer in a field. These are just a few of the sightings of ‘kangaroos' in the USA.
The ‘kangaroos' have been blamed for killing and mutilating many farm animals, such as sheep, poultry and horses, as well as small cats and dogs, birds, rabbits and other small animals. One was said to have carried a sheep while it fled. One kangaroo-like creature was reported to attack a horse, leaving a 75 cm gash across the chest. One ‘kangaroo' was allegedly hit by a car and killed in 1981, but the corpse and driver disappeared before they could be investigated. There is only one fuzzy photograph of a slumping, kangaroo-like figure in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This was taken in 1978. There is also some film of one of the animals.
Some people claim that the kangaroos have escaped from local zoos or circuses, but there are only two cases (both in 1968) of kangaroos missing from American zoos. The problem seems to lie with the kangaroos' vicious, meat-eating natures, abnormal strength and their ability to suddenly appear and vanish. Some think that the animal is not a kangaroo, but an unknown, mysterious creature with kangaroo-like features, while others think they are misidentified indigenous wild animals. Other people think that the ‘carnivorous kangaroos' are linked to genetic mutation or alien experiments, creatures from another planet or dimension, or linked to government conspiracy. Some people consider them to be ghostly apparitions of Australian wildlife? Some people have labelled the ‘killer kangaroo' as a werewolf. Jay Rath links it with the ‘Chupacabra or ‘goat-sucker', reported from Puerto Rico to the USA.

So are there kangaroos living wild in the USA? I can't think of a reason why kangaroos couldn't survive in the USA, which has a wide range of habitats, many of which are suitable for kangaroos. There are several sightings of exotic animals, such as big cats, in Britain each year. Some people think they are derived from pets, which were released by pet owners, when it became illegal to keep some species of wild animals without a licence. Much of the ‘evidence' consists of ‘eye-witness reports' and fuzzy photographs. Sometimes the culprit has been found. Two cases of ‘lions' were really a tabby cat and a dog, which had been clipped in such a way that its mane and tail resembled that of a lion. Despite this, dead exotic cats have been found in Britain. These include the corpse of a jungle cat in Scotland. If exotic cats can survive in Britain, I can't see why kangaroos can't survive in the USA. Red kangaroos can live in arid environments, while some types of grey kangaroo live in forests and wallaroos live in rocky environments. There are many arid, forest and rocky environments in the USA where kangaroos could survive and thrive. There are a few colonies of wallabies living wild in Britain, while various species of wallabies were successfully introduced to New Zealand. It is also possible that some kangaroos were introduced to the USA for hunting – there are various ‘game animals' in Texas and elsewhere. Perhaps some of them escaped.

There is also the possibility that people have misidentified a native mammal or perhaps even a domestic dog or the like. One of the problems with ‘unusual animals' is that some people see what they want to see, so, if there have been reports of kangaroos in the area, people may see greyhounds or salukis and think that they are looking at kangaroos. A similar situation exists with other aspects of cryptozoology. How many people misidentify tracks in the Himalayas as belonging to a yeti, rather than perhaps a bear or a snow leopard, or see a branch in Loch Ness and think they've seen the monster? I'm not saying that the eyewitnesses are being deliberately fraudulent, but perhaps prone to exaggeration.

The problem with much of the information above is its link with the paranormal. The kangaroos seem to be almost ghostly and links to other worlds and dimensions are, unfortunately, well outside my remit and impossible to prove, at present. The concept of a vicious, meat-eating kangaroo is not as far-fetched as you may think. There are various extinct kangaroos, which ate meat and were quite vicious.
, and
 have information about Ekaltadeta, a dog-sized carnivorous rat kangaroo, from northern Australia. Fossil remains suggest it may have stabbed at its prey with its very long, forward-pointing, dagger-like lower front teeth and manipulated and held its victims with its front legs. Professor Mike Archer, of the Australian Museum, said that it could have “stood up at your shoulder and torn your arm off”. Prey may have included the ‘fangaroo', a small, plant-eating kangaroo with large, protective fangs. The Ekaltadea is about the nearest animal I can think of to the ‘phantom kangaroo', Unfortunately, for this question, it died out about 25 million years ago.

Ultimately, the answer to your question is that a pack of kangaroos released in the wild in the United States would be able to survive, if left undisturbed in a suitable habitat. Whether there are wild kangaroos living in the United States is quite another issue and crosses into a weird range of issues, not all of which are zoological in nature.

I hope this has helped.

All the best

Phantom kangaroo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Periodically, reports of kangaroos, wallabies, or their accompanying footprints have been made in places where one would not expect them—specifically, areas where there is no native population.[1] Some explanations put forth are escaped zoo or circus animals, or publicity stunts by local businesses using photographs from Australia. Others suggest outbreaks of such sightings are a form of mass hysteria
There is a verifiable population of kangaroos living in the wild in the township of Émancé, about an hour outside of Paris.[2] The kangaroos are descended from a breeding population which escaped during a botched burglary attempt at an animal park in the 1970s.


In the years before World War I, there was a colony of wallabies in Prussia, raised by a hunter living there. When he died, shortly before WWI, they became easy prey to local deer hunters.


Between 2003 and 2010, there was a series of phantom kangaroo sightings in the Mayama mountain district of Ōsaki, Miyagi city in Miyagi Prefecture[3]

New Zealand

Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf has a colony of three species of wallabies descending from a deliberate introduction by Sir George Grey, a nineteenth century Governor.[4]

United Kingdom

There is at least one verifiable example of a population of wild wallabies outside Australia. Documented colonies of red-necked wallabies exist in the United Kingdom. In Staffordshire, a breeding colony has established itself after breaking loose from a private zoo in Leek, Staffordshire in the 1930s.[5] Their population peaked in the 1970s, reaching numbers between 60 and 70. There were no confirmed sightings of the wallabies between 2000 and 2008, with some locals believing they must have died out. However, newspapers reported wallaby sightings in July 2009 (including clear pictures) and made reference to sightings in 2008. Other Wallaby colonies exist in the UK, including reliable reports from the Fenland on the Norfolk/Lincolnshire border; and there are a few in Ashdown Forest, Sussex. In May 2001 The Sun reported that the Derbyshire wallabies were hunted for their meat by eastern European immigrants and included images of a half cooked wallaby. While many copies of the paper still exist The Sun still denies running the story.
In Scotland, Inchconnachan, an island in Loch Lomond has a population of wallabies as well. Lady Arran Colquhoun introduced them in the 1920s.[6]

United States

Many of these sightings are very similar to reports of the Jersey Devil.
Tennessee, 1934: During mid-January 1934, an atypical kangaroo was reported to have killed and partially devoured several animals, including German Shepherd dogs. One witness, Reverend W. J. Hancock, described the animal as looking like a large kangaroo, running and leaping across a field. Another witness, Frank Cobb, soon found more evidence of the kangaroo’s activities: a dismembered German Shepherd. A search party followed the kangaroo's prints to a cave, where the trail ran out. The kangaroo was never found.
There have been recent attempts to label the story as a hoax by the late Horace N. Minnis, of the Chattanooga Times. However, Minnis was not a newspaper correspondent for the area at that time.
Chicago, 1974: In the early morning hours of 18 October 1974, Officer Michael Byrne and Leonard Ciagi of the Chicago police were called to investigate a report that a kangaroo was standing in someone's porch. After a brief search, the officers located the animal in an alleyway, but were unable to capture it.[1]
After the Chicago incident, kangaroo sightings were reported in Illinois and Wisconsin.[1] The kangaroo was seen the next day by a paperboy, and again on the 23rd in Schiller Woods. Another police officer saw it on 1 November in Plano, just outside the city. He reported it jumping eight feet from a field into the road. Half an hour later it (or another one), was seen back in Chicago. It was then seen on the following three days in the surrounding countryside, and finally on the sixth, near Lansing. A few days later, there was a rash of sightings in Indiana.
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, 1978: two men photographed a large kangaroo beside the highway.[1] Loren Coleman compares the pictures to a Bennett's wallaby.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Clark, Jerome (1993). Unexplained! 347 Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena. Detroit: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0-8103-9436-7.
  2. ^ "Roos are driving French hopping mad". 29 July 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
  3. ^ "Phantom kangaroos spotted in Japan". 9 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  4. ^ "The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, Part 2". Inset to The New Zealand Herald: pp. 12. 3 March 2010.
  5. ^ "Derbyshire's Wallabies". Retrieved 2010-03-02.
  6. ^ "Loch Lomond Islands: Inchconnachan". Loch Retrieved 2007-08-24.

External links

The Cryptid Zoo: Kangaroos
What are kangaroos doing in a website that is devoted to cryptozoology? Kangaroos are perfectly real creatures, after all. Cryptozoology is about creatures that might or might not be real. The answer is that some kangaroos are perfectly real and are not disputed by scientists, while others are highly controversial. Those kangaroos that live in Australia are perfectly normal beasts, but those reported in sightings from places such as North America are often bizarre.
The existence of a stable North American breeding population of kangaroos has never been confirmed, even though sightings are quite common. Some breeding populations of feral kangaroos in Europe have been accepted as real by mainstream scientists, but not in enough places to account for the widespread spatial scale of European kangaroo sightings. The escapes of occasional pet kangaroos in Europe and North America do not seem to explain the sheer number of sightings, and escapes from zoos or the circus are rare, with the animals generally being recaptured within a few days at most.
Most explanations of these cryptid kangaroos do not rest on sightings of escaped kangaroos. Instead, the mainstream scientists and the cryptozoologists have gone in different directions with their theories. Mainstream science tends to suggest that such sightings are based on sheer hallucination or mistaken observations of more ordinary creatures, such as feral dogs. Cryptozoologists tend to hypothesize that, at some point in the past, feral kangaroos established a breeding population. A few explanations go much farther and propose that North America has a native undiscovered marsupial that is related to the mostly extinct South American marsupials.
Some of these cryptid kangaroo sightings sound exactly like normal kangaroos. Other sightings describe giant kangaroos, ghostly kangaroos, kangaroos that look as if they are half dog, or kangaroos with weird habits such as killing and eating sheep. The weirder kangaroo reports are sometimes classified as really being reports of giant monkeys, especially since some of these creatures are described as having upper torsos that resemble monkeys. Certain other of these reports are classified as chupacabras, and the reports of ghostly kangaroos that fade away into mist while witnesses are looking right at them are generally ignored by cryptozoologists, as a subject more suitable for paranormal investigators.
The term "phantom kangaroo" is frequently used for all types of cryptid kangaroos, regardless of how normal or bizarre the particular creature in question is. This is a shame, because the term is misleading, tending to make some perfectly normal kangaroo sightings sound as if they should only be investigated by ghost hunters, never by any respectable scientists. The term "phantom kangaroo" is quite similar to "phantom cat," which is widely used for reports of eastern cougars and mystery black panthers, regardless of whether the cats in question are atributed with ghostly characteristics or seem solidly physical.

You can find out more about Cryptid Kangaroos from the following sources:

Blackman, W. Haden. The Field Guide to North American Monsters New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Pages 228-230
Clark, Jerome. Unexplained!. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999. Pages 392-395
Coleman, Jerry D. Strange Highways: A Guidebook to American Mysteries & the Unexplained. Alton, Illinois: Whitechapel Productions Press, 2003.Pages 21, 28-29, 182
Coleman, Loren. Mysterious America: The Revised Edition. New York: Paraview Press, 2001. Pages 13, 110, 161-187, 243, 282
Evening Star, The. Wallabies on the loose in Suffolk
Godfrey, Linda S., Hendricks, Richard D., Moran, Mark, ed. & Sceurman, Mark, ed. Weird Wisconsin: Your Travel Guide to Wisconsin's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. New York: Sterling, 2005. Pages 12-15
Moran, Mark & Sceurman, Mark. Weird N.J.: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004. Pages 107, 258
Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pages 43, 55, 223-224, 480-481
Rath, Jay. The W-Files: True Reports of Wisconsin's Unexplained Phenomena. Black Earth, Wisconsin: Trails Books, 1997. Pages 18-20
Wikipedia, The. Phantom Kangaroos
Weidensaul, Scott. The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking and the Search for Lost Species. New York: North Point Press, 2002. Page 137
Woodyard, Chris. Haunted Ohio II: More Ghostly Tales from the Buckeye State. Beavercreek, Ohio: Kestrel Publications, 1992. Page 94

 Above, red kangaroo's foot from Wikipedia. Below, feet of various wallabies and small kangaroos, the first foot on the far left is a possum's foot and next right to it is a (small) rat kangaroo's foot.
 At this point in time it is good to make some points. Yes, Kangaroos leave "Three-Toed" tracks, Yes, Kangaroos are responsible for the sightings of "Phantom Kangaroos" worldwide, including many more recently attributed to "Devil Monkeys" and "Chupacabras," YES, This includes several KNOWN cases attributed to the "Jersey Devil" (these include deliberate releases into the New Jersey wilds to create hoaxes), NO the Kangaroos are NOT Responsible for killing of livestock and animal mutilations, NO These Kangaroos are NOT Carnivorous; YES Those mutilation and livestock killings are most likely the work of wild dogs (wild feral dogs and gentinely wild dogs such as coyotes); YES, this is a worldwide phenomenon, YES, these are entirely ordinary animals to whom some degree of hysteria has become attached: YES, presumably they are shipped out of Australia by person or persons unknown, AND IT DOES NOT MATTER IF WE CANNOT VERIFY THAT FACT: NO there is nothing Paranormal about any of this and finally, NO, THIS SITUATION IS NOT ABOUT  CRYPTOZOOLOGY, NEITHER ARE THE "PHANTOM BIG CAT" SIGHTINGS. IT IS NOT CRYPTOZOOLOGY WHEN YOU ARE DEALING WITH KNOWN SPECIES OF ANIMALS

There are several distinct species of kangaroos and wallabies reported on the loose in the USA: the smallest species are some wallabies that are three feet tall or under, and have feet about the same length as the average human foot but not as broad. The biggest kangaroos are the Red kangaroos that can stretch themselves to seven feet tall and they can have feet up to eighteen inches long. Those statistics very nicely encompass the range of "Devil Monkey" statistics as listed. Also, male kangaroos can be quite rambunctious in the mating season and they kick viciously when fighting. Their feet have enormous claws on them, easily capable of disembowelling a sheep or a german shepard dog. They do not kill for food but because they feel they are being challenged in some way.

Vagrant or Errant Kangaroos Worldwide: some of the locations are based on vague or incomplete information and there COULD be many, many more sightings of the type mistaken for "Chupacabras" or whatever. Outside of the USA, all occurrances are acknowledged to be dur to human agency. Within the USA they do not tend to live in areas which are natural Kangaroo habitat, nor yet even in the same ecological zones: but they DO show a decided statistical affinity for lage population centers, being found in close proximity or within the city limits in such places as San Fran-cisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Omaha, Minneapolis, Toronto, Chicago, Indianapolis and in New Jersey near to New York City. That is hardly a natural distribution and once again suggests their deliberate and artificial introduction.

1 comment:

  1. Good article. One thing worth noting is that just because the animal snarls, growls, or screeches does not mean it is not a kangaroo. Kangaroos can be very aggressive, especially if they feel that they are cornered. In one episode of the Crocodile Hunter with Steve Irwin rescue of a wild kangaroo trapped in a storm drain. It snarled and growled like a wild dog and reminded me very much of the Chicago Police case.


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