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Red State
Red State
2 Dec 2023
Ward Clark


NextImg:A Dingo May Eat Your Baby, but a Kangaroo Will Drown Your Dog

What is it about the Land Down Under that almost everything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies will try to kill you? If you happen to find yourself in Australia, and are walking your dog, keep it on a leash; in addition to all the other things that can kill you or your pet Down Under, we learn now that a kangaroo may well drown your dog.

Kangaroos perceive dogs as a threat because dogs closely resemble dingoes — one of their deadliest predators, said Euan Ritchie, a professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at Deakin University in Australia.

"This behavior is one way that kangaroos have learnt to survive attacks by dingoes, a native top predator they've coexisted with for many thousands of years," Ritchie told Live Science in an email.

Dingoes (Canis dingo) are Australia's largest land predators and genetically sit somewhere between a wolf and a modern domestic dog. Humans likely brought the ancestors of modern dingoes to the mainland between 5,000 and 8,500 years ago, and the canines gradually settled for a diet of marsupials and reptiles. Modern dogs weren't introduced to Australia until 1788, when the first ships carrying British and Irish convicts arrived on the continent.

At least we cobbers up here in the States aren't the only ones dealing with troublesome beasts; we may have an invasion of Canadian super-pigs and Arctic beavers trying to do us in with climate change, but at least those critters aren't trying to drown Man's Best Friend.

Kangaroos have no such compunctions. At least the scenes we can access involve only a single bipedal marsupial; there is no evidence that the animals are joining forces to attack dogs, which would constitute, one would suppose, a gangaroo. (If they all lived together, would they be roo-mates?) As you can see from the video below, some of these kangaroos get pretty big, growing as much as six feet (most only grow two.)

The kangaroo in this high-koala-ty video is going all gangster on these dogs, although it's unclear as to whether it's a fan of hip-hop. And were the kangaroo to be successful in doing in the pooch, it's unlikely it would face any consequences, as it would certainly be going up before a kangaroo court.

Seriously, I can see one problem in this video, and that's that whoever owns these dogs has no control over them. You can hear the owner trying to call the canines away from the combative marsupial, but the dogs aren't having any of it. The unseen, off-camera dog owner doesn't have their pets leashed, and the dogs aren't responding to voice commands.

 That's not only a good way to get your dogs killed in Australia, but lots of other places as well -- here in Alaska, for instance. While we have bears and moose that can mess up even a big dog, we can see here that kangaroos can be pretty badass, too, and they are all too willing to go Mortal Wombat.

At least they aren't teaching our kids their doggie hatred. We have enough home-grown kooks teaching weird things about animals and stealing animals as is.

Side note: I once had a kangaroo steak. It had a kick, and made me a little jumpy.

This seems appropriate.