Coming up close with a kangaroo features on many tourists' checklist when visiting Australia. But one woman's terrifying encounter near Sydney might just make some visitors think twice.
Sydney mum Melanie Stubbs says she's lucky to be alive after sustaining a dangerous laceration after she was attacked by a protective mother in December.
"It could have killed me," she told 9 News.
The 58-year-old was bushwalking with friends in the Blue Mountains when they came across an injured joey entangled in a fence. The group tried to help but the mother kangaroo growling nearby reacted badly to the gesture.
Terrifying video shows the kangaroo charging at the group, with Melanie falling to the ground. The kangaroo then slips up under the fence and pounces on Melanie with its arms outstretched.
"I was trying to crawl away and I'm yelling, 'Help me'... she was pounding on my back. It was awful," Melanie recalled.
The kangaroo cut Melanie's calf to the bone, leaving her calf muscle "hanging off" her leg. She was rushed to hospital where she underwent emergency surgery. With the wound later becoming infected, it would be more than two months before she could return to work.
Mum 'didn't know' kangaroos could attack
Melanie now wants to use her "horrendous" experience as a warning to others about the dangers of kangaroos.
"I grew up in Australia and I didn't know kangaroos could attack so I figured other people might not know that either," she said.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) notes the perception of kangaroos can often be skewed.
"Kangaroos are often portrayed in the media as friendly and cuddly Australian cultural icons. They can hurt people, however the risk is of being attacked by a kangaroo is very low," it says.
Kangaroos can attack if they see humans as a threat to their offspring. The NPWS advises people to avoid feeding kangaroos and supervise children when they are nearby.
Those who discover injured kangaroos or other wildlife can call animal rescue charity WIRES, who can either talk you through the best steps to take or attend themselves.
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