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.