A viral “bodybuilder” roo which captivated the world after it was snapped bathing its bulging muscles in an Australian creek was actually bracing to drown its photographer.
Jackson Vincent snapped the stunning photographs of the hulking 100kg, two-metre tall roo squaring up in Boodjidup Creek in Margaret River, Western Australia, on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old couldn’t believe his eyes when he found himself in a standoff with the mammoth mammal – and feared it could be preparing to attack his beloved pet dog Dharma.
Now, a kangaroo expert has revealed the roo was indeed exhibiting typical anti-predator behaviour – and Jackson would have been in deep trouble if he ventured any closer.
Professor Graeme Coulson, from the University of Melbourne, said: “If Jackson got into the water, it would have tried to drown him. It would put him in a headlock and kick at him under the water.
“They have very sharp claws, just getting gripped by them would be unpleasant enough. The roo was taller than him, so he would be at a disadvantage there.
“The animal is all muscle and bone. He’s a dominant male and extremely solid and strong, so he would not have been very easy to wrestle with.”
Despite the threat posed to Kelpie Dharma and her owner, Professor Coulson said the roo headed into water to defend itself as canines are actually the animals’ predators.
He added: “The dog was what the behaviour was all about. When kangaroos feel threatened by dogs they get into water, where they can defend themselves very well.
“If the dog had swum out to him, it would have done doggy-paddle. With all the upper body strength, the roo would have drowned the dog with no trouble at all.”
Professor Coulson offered some words of warning to any dog owners who find themselves in a similar situation in the outback.
“Don’t get between your roo and your dog if something goes wrong. Stay out of it, it will end up in a real mess.”
Jackson, from Fremantle, had been visiting his grandmother in Margaret River and saw the gargantuan animal on her property at about 11.30am on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, Jackson's Facebook post with his images of the kangaroo's muscular physique quickly went viral, racking up thousands of likes and shares.
Online commenters were quick to point out the animal's impressive bodybuilder-like muscular shoulders, biceps and chest and threatening posture.
After dropping Kelpie Dharma back at his grandmother's house Jackson returned to the creek to see if the roo was still there.
However, the 27-year-old said he didn’t believe he could have resisted stepping in to help if things had gone south and said he would have wasted no time leaping to Dharma’s defence.
He admitted he could have met his fate going toe-to-tail with the hulking animal, and said he would try to do things differently next time around.
Jackson said: “If Dharma got in I would have crept around the back to try and get her out. I would have to step in and help her, I really love that dog.
“If it did happen, I wouldn’t have come off very well. I might have survived if I got in but I would have had some nasty scars.
“I would probably keep Dharma further away if It happened again, but I already knew roos were dangerous. I love animals, and I believe they only attack if you pose a threat.
“I felt like he was ready for anything. He was just sitting in the water waiting for the right moment, but I wasn’t going to give it to him.”