Dramatic video of kangaroo fighting off dogs fuels Aussie myth

Despite the roo striking back against the dogs, kangaroos will only attack as a last resort.

Two images from a video showing dogs attack a kangaroo in a creek in Australia.
A video showing a kangaroo attacked by pack of dogs has gone viral on social media. Source: TikTok

WARNING - CONFRONTING CONTENT: Disturbing footage showing a kangaroo trying to fend off a pack of dogs has sparked a warning to pet owners. During the 52-second clip, which was uploaded to TikTok on Monday and amassed over 675,000 views, a woman can be heard calling her animals to come back as the large male marsupial stands tall and strikes back.

Many internet users responded with concerns for the welfare of the dogs, with one falsely suggesting, “kangaroos lead dogs to water to drown them”. This popular belief likely began spreading last October in response to viral footage showing a kangaroo trying to push an attacking dog underwater.

But kangaroo expert Alyssa Wormald has busted that myth, telling Yahoo News they are “flight animals” and not “fight animals” as many wrongly believe. “Kangaroos don’t lure dogs into danger, they retreat into water as a last resort to defend themselves from attack. They fight back only in self defence, and that’s clear in the video,” she added.

After watching the video, Deakin University wildlife ecologist Professor Euan Ritchie also reflected on the issue.

"Kangaroos don't lure dogs to water bodies, they retreat to them, and it is here that they can use their height advantage, and long arms and powerful claws, to hold down and drown dogs as they swim out to attempt to attack the kangaroos," he said.

"It's very well-known and has killed many a farm or hunting dog in Australia. Presumably kangaroos have learnt this behaviour to survive attacks by dingoes."

Another falsely held belief is that kangaroos like to box other animals — even humans. And this stems from their use as a circus animal last century, and the popularisation of the boxing kangaroo flag. The only time you’re likely to ever see a kangaroo willingly engaged in a bout is when males fight each other for dominance.

Related: Kangaroo chased into the water by dogs highlights major problem

The origin of the video remains unclear and the account holder who posted it has not responded to a request for comment from Yahoo News. Wormald, who runs the Victorian Kangaroo Association, was not alone in her condemnation of the dog attack.

“Seriously why would you let your dogs near [a] poor kangaroo,” one person wrote. “Control your dogs, luckily it was a kangaroo and not a child,” another said.

But others seemed to strangely delight in the tussle, possibly because they were unaware of its ramifications on the kangaroo.

"They just wanted to play," one person said. "He was like come on boys let's do this," another quipped.

Although the kangaroo appeared shaken but largely unharmed, some experts have raised concerns for the animal’s welfare. That’s because stress frequently causes kangaroos to slowly die over a number of days.

“It’s so upsetting to see this magnificent kangaroo retreating in terror in the water… the saddest part is that if he sustained just one bite he will likely die slowly from infection,” she said.

“If that doesn’t kill him, chances are he will die from stress myopathy. Male kangaroos look big and tough but they are like all kangaroos, fragile and easily stressed.”

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