Rugby might be very topical at the moment as the six nations starts up again, but there are more to wallabies than bulked up rugby players – and the roos aren’t just a soccer team either!
Wallabies and kangaroos are often confused but whatever about their zoological distinction (effectivelly the wallaby is smaller than the kangaroo) neither should be underestimated by any road traveller in Australia.
Emerging to feed in the pre-dawn and at dusk, they present a real hazard to drivers in the bush. Crash into a red kangaroo – the largest of the species grows as high as two metres and can weigh as much as 14 stone – and you are almost guaranteed to do serious damage to your vehicle unless, like all roadtrains and most local vehicles, you are equipped with a bullbar or “roo-bar”.
(Bertha had many close scrapes with roos and knocked down two black-footed wallabies in Western Australia. Faced with the dilemma of what to do with a still breathing animal read the Exmouth Peninsula chapter to find out how we ultimately resolved the issue and about the benefits of having a cool-headed German on board.)
The most common urban myth about car accidents and marsupials is of the car that crashes into the roo which then breaks through the windscreen. Initially dazed, it soon begins kicking wildly to escape and with the sheer power of its legs decapitates the driver and front seat passenger. It might be an urban myth, but if you see one close up it doesn’t seem in the least far-fetched.