Aussies: when kangaroos wander around in Canberra, where do they come *from*?[Now on Aussie slang]

Here is a kangaroo during a local soccer match in Canberra.

All cities get the local fauna every now and then, small ones, and bears in sub- or exurbia are a well-known problem in the US. Dogs loose in baseball fields are a perennial favorite. Of course, kangaroos are all over the place and are rightly viewed as pests, and yes, the occasional lion escapes from a zoo, or whatever.

I know bears live and do other things in the woods, but I have no clue about the geography of Canberra. More generally, when a kangaroo hops in your backyard or schoolyard, what do guys do?

With a bear decides to play in your back yard, you get inside and call People With Guns. I ask about what the general suburban response is (and how often it happens) when the kangaroos show up, because the soccer players are tearing ass away from the kangaroo, who to my greenhorn eyes doesn’t particularly seem to be attacking them, and just wants to get the hell out of there.

BTW, do they ever show up, one way or another, lost in a city proper?


Canberra is a planned city, with urban nodes well-separated by large parklands [both natural vegetation and maintained]. Few people are more than a block from a patch of bush which eventually connects to the countryside.

In Canberra and other cities the occasional kangaroo or wallaby wanders into busy public spaces. If there’s a chance of harm to them park rangers may get called but usually they are ignored.

Recently a wallaby wandered onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Weird questions. Kangaroos aren’t equivalent to bears, more like bouncy deer. They’re protected, like all Australian wildlife, so of course the authorities aren’t going to come and shoot it. So they’re trying to shoo it away from the soccer pitch.

I didn’t see anyone running away from the roo, and if they were, probably because any wild animal can act unpredictably when stressed.

So. Kangaroos live in Canberra. If you see one, you say, “Huh, there’s a roo.” And you wait for it to go away.

Just checked google maps, and indeed it’s surprising how much parklands there are (also, it looks much smaller than I would have expected).

Authorities in the U.S. don’t usually come aiming to shoot bears, either. They’d rather shoo it off, or if it could present a persistent danger to people living in the area, they’ll tranquilize it and relocate it.

Canberra has a lot in common with the history of Washington DC. Federal seat of government carved out of a bit of one of the states. It has no product* other than government. So it isn’t all that big. It is a designed city, designed to allow it to grow to something much larger than its current population, with lots of space. And it is dumped in an otherwise mostly useless part of the country.

Australia is however one of the most urbanised countries on the planet - which is something of a surprise. More people as a percentage of population live in large cities than anywhere else. So the number of people who live within close proximity of bushland - and wild native fauna is actually pretty low. The image of kangaroos bouncing down streets is very far from the reality.
I live on the edge of my city, and I do very occasionally see kangaroos. Like one every few years. Other fauna can be more common. Koalas I see all the time, even to the point of having had one wander into my living room when I left the front door open. (My cat was quite put out. When it came to the claw department he was well outclassed.)

You don’t want to threaten a full grown kangaroo, like any wild animal they can get spooked, and will lash out - a kick from one is to be avoided. But the comparison with deer is good. One thing they are not is smart. Most Australian fauna are as thick as shit. Little in the way of predators and a very meagre nutritional food supply does not encourage development much in the way of brains.

  • It does have a couple of universities and at one stage some locals took advantage of loopholes in the law to become the centre of the pornography distribution business for Oz. Many of us feel this was rather fitting.

Only place in the country where you can legally buy fireworks too.

But why you would trust a polly with a cracker…:smiley:

There are gaps between residential areas, and it often goes normal suburb->bush immediately.
The Pinnacle has kangaroos any time you want to see them.

I had a roo in my front yard last year, and saw one in a adjacent suburb a couple of months ago, about 2km in.

You used to be able to buy fireworks in Darwin, did that change?

Agree with all the posters above. There is a lot of bushland all through and around Canberra. Lots of pure suburban houses back on to kangaroo territory.

When I was a kid growing up in Canberra one night, out driving we came across a joey (baby kangaroo) wandering down the middle of a suburban street in Lyneham. To prevent it being hit by a car we grabbed it, put it in our car and took it home. My parents rang, I imagine, the RSPCA and got advice on looking after it. We gave it baby bottles of fluid and it spent most of it’s time sleeping in a warm pouch hanging on a door in the laundry. A day or two later people who knew what they were doing came and took it away.

Droughts are a problem in Aus cities. The grass in the parklands dies and the roos have nothing to eat. But, hey - just over there, someone’s been keeping his lawn going by watering (there’s always a few), so the roos invade the suburbs.

Kangaroos are one of Australia’s most dangerous animals. They wander onto the roads and cause car accidents - some fatal. In 2015, there were over 4,000 car insurance claims relating to collisions (or swerving to avoid) roos. Similar to deer in some parts of the US,

It’s not unlike how we occasionally see deer come right to downtown Cincinnati’s doorstep. The “basin” is surrounded by steep wooded hillsides that are, for the most part, undevelopable. Eden Park, where I’ve seen deer several times, is barely a mile from the heart of downtown. It’s connected to long runs of wooded hillside to the east along the Ohio River, so nature can penetrate quite deep into the core of the city. Then there’s the lizards…

I’m so jealous; Australia has the best critters (among other things). If a koala wondered into my house I would die of pure joy, or at the very least have a Kristen Bell meets a sloth moment.

I would reckon that Australians probably think of koalas the same way we think of raccoons (with the caveat that raccoons carry rabies.) They can be cute and do cute things, but mostly they are to be avoided or ignored. They’re not dangerous enough to actually fear, but they are just dangerous enough to not want to mess with either. If one walks in your house, I would guess their reaction is probably more along the lines of “What the heck are you doing in my house? Get out of here and don’t break anything.” rather than a moment of joy. I think that generally speaking, any wildlife can get tiresome when it is around all the time. There are very few animals native to here that I get much joy out of seeing these days, maybe bobcats since they tend to lay low and I see them so rarely and otters because I just like otters and don’t have a rational reason for it - I don’t have an excuse, I just like them. :slight_smile: The rest though my attitude is between annoyance and indifference depending upon what the animal is and what it is doing.

I don’t think having koalas, wallabys, and kangaroos is worth the spiders, cone snails, poisonous centipedes, snakes, bees, and Russell Crowe.

I’ll gladly abide all of those AND you can throw in the annoying Melissa George and hateful Mel Gibson to boot :slight_smile:

And my ex-girlfriend Nicole Kidman (ex after she started using Botox).

BTW, learning and learning when to use the word “bush” is another of the things I’ve learned from this OP so far.

So now I know where kangaroos shit in.

Although I bet Aussies don’t say that the way US people (Brits?) ask, when appropriate, “Do bears shit in the woods?”

Eh. I don’t think this is an apt comparison. For one thing, the koala’s range is fairly limited across the continent, whereas raccoons are much more widespread. For another, the koala’s very limited diet means their interactions with humans are more limited – they’re not breaking into garbage cans or eating pet food. Koalas are slow, docile and quiet (except during mating season, when their calls are loud and kind of eerie.

It’s a treat to see a wild koala, and I’d assume most Aussies agree.