Canberra (Australia) – Story by Tracy, your intrepid (not) wildlife photographer. Until recently, I must confess to a lack of intellectual curiosity about why male kangaroos are colloquially called “boomers”. I spent half an hour googling this today but still am none the wiser. My curiosity was ignited on last weekend’s walk at our local nature reserve. I wonder whether it is related to the loud grunting noise male kangaroos make when they are courting? Spoiler alert – this roo story involves courting.

My True Love (TL) and I saw a mob of kangaroos bounding along and one was emitting a loud, somewhat aggressive, grunt with each bound. I’ve never heard anything like it before. Hot on the heels of discussion on my blog last month about male kangaroos getting frisky soon and needing to allow a safe distance between frisky bucks and me, such fervent proclamations of unrequited love from the male roo made me feel slightly agitated. Still, they were headed away from my TL and me, so I wasn’t too worried. Moments later, my TL alerted me to some roos advancing toward us about 20 metres away. I am sure they would not have come so close if they had known we were there. Suffice to say, I did everything wrong as my immediate reaction was to snap a couple of hasty photos, but it quickly became obvious that one of the roos was an amorous male and he had only one thing on his mind. We decided that it would be prudent to beat a hasty retreat.

As you can see, it is definitely a male.

Photography conditions were bad. There was no time to adjust settings. Those legs and, ahem, tail look very powerful, don’t you think?

Do you suppose he got lucky? We’ll never know. While his back was turned, we scarpered.

The New South Wales environment department has produced a handy pamphlet on living with kangaroos. Apparently, you are not supposed to draw attention to yourself, or stare, put your head up or arms out toward a nearby kangaroo. When retreating you should crouch or crawl away and put a tree between you and any aggressive roo. If you are attacked, curl into a ball and protect your face. Kangaroos are nocturnal and become quite active at dusk so that is something to keep in mind when out walking in bushland areas.

Anyway, we left without incident and enjoyed the rest of the walk. Phew!

All the best, everyone. Stay safe, stay calm, but be alert to all the wonders of our world.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

49 thoughts on “Boom, Boom, Boom

  1. Oh, Tracy….something about this made me laugh. That second photo with the female (I’m guessing) standing up. In my mind, I picture her saying, “You’re filming this??!” I’d still keep that camera handy, even in the fetal position….๐Ÿฆ˜

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    1. It was hard to appreciate what was going on at the time, Lois. It was dark under the tree and should have been private so no wonder she was surprised. I would feel totally defenseless without my camera. Plus when you are already a ball, it is hard to curl up into one.

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  2. Loved the story and the photographic documentation…ending open to interpretation! I agree with lois the shot of the female is priceless! Glad you made it out safely.

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  3. Wow. The opposite of encountering a bear or cougar. This is a great story and beautiful photos. I love their faces. I love that people get very excited when they learn that X animal is monogamous. I think people think that has to do with life-long affection, but I’m pretty sure it only has to do with convenience and not having to go through this every mating season. I used to watch the bulls when they were let into the field across the street from my house in CA and it was hilarious most of the time. Though it doesn’t take long for the mating to take place, you know it hasn’t happened when the cow just walks out from under the poor guy.

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    1. Kangaroos are polygamous, Martha. There are dominant males but a lot happens when he is not looking. My avian vet told me that birds that ostensibly mate for life will often find another mate if misfortune befalls it’s partner. Cows and horses are funny. Talk about being ruled by the little head. Females are just as bad.

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      1. Yep. Most of the monogamous birds I “know” are monogamous because they’re attached to a particular nesting site and in some cases a particular nest. I think wolves are monogamous because of the den. And yeah, cows and horses are hilarious. One of my favorite horse stories is that the reason the Christians won the first crusade was because they rode Stallions and the muslims rode mares. I totally believe it. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  4. A wise move to get out while you could but get a few photos before departing. There’s a great cartoon of Kangaroos bounding along and one Kangaroo says to another “You don’t have to make that boing boing sound all the time”

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  5. What an exciting photo-story, Tracy! Despite what you say, I think you’ve managed to capture a great deal of action! And so thrilling, I could feel your tension in the proximity with the roos …. are they coming? going? nearing? wow!

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  6. Since I don’t live anywhere near kangaroos, I had never considered the fact that they can be aggressive, especially males during the mating season. But I do live in an area with bears and other wildlife, and the advice is often the same: don’t draw attention to yourself, stay neutral, and withdraw quietly. I’m glad your encounter ended well and that you got in a few quick photos too. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Most interesting. I know nothing about how kangaroos behave, other than what I learned in Winnie the Pooh. Your photos are good considering the situation. The things I learn!

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  8. In some situations, it’s often hard to decide whether to stop for a photo or get the @#$ out of there. This story brought a smile! Outside my window at this time of year, the rabbits that live under the bush chase each other, or rather the male chases the female. I enjoy watching them hop around.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth. When my husband asked me to move away, I did think about taking a couple more shots but then thought better of it.
      It is really lovely to observe animals that are completely focussed on their own lives. The bunnies, a feral pest here, are very shy.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Kim. Your comment made me scurry off and do some research on the wallabies in the UK. How interesting. I have seen some red-necked wallabies in some pretty cold places so it does not surprise me that the escapees and resident population are undeterred by the English weather. They do not breed like rabbits so hopefully they will not become a pest species.

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  9. Glad you escaped any unwanted attention by the boomer, Tracy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Those pics are great, I had quite a laugh imagining a similar dialogue as stated above. ๐Ÿ˜€ And here was me being so jealous of kangaroos running wild in Australia and me having to hop over to the zoo to see them (awful pun intended ๐Ÿ˜‰ )! Now I’m quite relieved they don’t come over for their mating season. LOL!

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