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Australian Wildlife: Kangaroos in the Bush


When we host visitors to Canada and take them out for a drive in the woods, they’ll inevitably ask about bears and moose. But the chances of seeing one of these special Canadian creatures is fairly rare.

Fortunately, this is not the same for kangaroos in Australia. Seeing a kangaroo in the bush while out driving is about as likely as seeing squirrels hopping about in your backyard trees.

While I did live in Sydney for close to a year without ever setting my eyes upon a wild kangaroo, once you leave the city, your chances are high. So high, in fact, that those who drive on rural roads generally have “roo bars” on the front of their cars. (These are an attachment to the front of the car to protect it should a kangaroo jump right in front of the vehicle.)

Note the bull bar (or "roo bar") attachment on the front of this car.

Note the bull bar (or “roo bar”) attachment on the front of this car.

Most accidents will happen at dusk, when the temperature starts to cool. Kangaroos move around more at night, so many Australians try to avoid driving at dusk and when it’s dark. Why? Well, take one look at this photo and you’ll see why …

The wreckage of the fatal car crash after a kangaroo smashed through the windscreen. Photo: AAP

The wreckage of a fatal car crash after a kangaroo smashed through the windscreen. Photo: AAP

Okay … I’ve gone off topic here … but, as a Canadian, it’s news that kangaroos can be anything but adorable. In addition to being wary of kangaroos on the roads, many country-living Australians are not particularly fond of kangaroos since they can be a real pest on farm land.

For us though, kangaroos are endlessly fascinating. They are so unique! They are so cute! I just can’t get enough of them!

So off we went for a drive to spot some kangaroos in the bush (Australians don’t say “woods,” they say “bush”).


Their colouring is perfectly suited to their environment, making them not particularly easy to spot. Below is a photo of a typical looking Australian bush scene. You can see the grey-green scrub on the ground. You can see the silver gum trees (eucalyptus) in the background.


And if you look carefully, you can see Mr. Kangaroo.


Generally, because they are so well camouflaged, the only way you can spot one is to see a head pop up.


It’s the movement that gives them away. At the beginning of our drive, we decided to make it a game with the kids to count how many we could spot. But by the end of our ride, we simply lost count. I’d estimate we saw at least 20 or so on that one short drive. Many of them were female, with joeys in their pouches. And luckily, none of them ended up on the front bumper of our car!



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