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Mystery Kangaroos Again

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 13th, 2006

Ralph Hamm Mystery Kangaroo

Yes, Austrian, not Australian, kangaroos are in the news. According to an Associated Press report, one was seen leaping down a Tyrol province highway during October 2006. But on October 11, law enforcement officials explained to the public this was an alleged September escapee from an enclosure in the village of Volders.

At least, that is the police statement. The uncaught kangaroo is still at large.

Reportedly, in March, 2006, a kangaroo was encountered in southern Austria. A local veterinarian using a stun gun captured it. Then a Tyrol wild animal breeder came forth, saying it was his. Humm.

These mystery, supposedly escapee, kangaroo sightings, as for example in Minnesota last year, are more frequent than most people think.

Sometimes real kangaroos are taken. A fifty pound kangaroo (actually a dama wallaby, Macropus eugenii, an extremely common captive exotic pet) was killed in rural Mauston, Wisconsin, on December 7, 2005, by a truck driven by Ralph Hamm (seen at the top of this post). It had jumped out in front of Hamm’s truck in his driveway, but he could not stop.

The Wisconsin State Journal noted that “kangaroos hopping around southern Wisconsin are becoming an annual occurrence. During last winter [2004-2005], a 130-pound kangaroo eluded Iowa County authorities for two days until he was finally corralled in a horsebarn on a farm south of Dodgeville.”

The locals and the paper soberly concluded: “Where the wayward marsupials are coming from is a mystery. “

Despite a lack of local sightings, Hamm said he backtracked and found that the kangaroo had apparently been living under a culvert on his property. The culvert area had a lot of prints and a line where the kangaroo dragged his tail.

Hamm is thinking about making a taxidermy mount of his kangaroo, while the Dodgeville kangaroo, nicknamed “Roo,” is a live attraction at the Vilas Zoo in Madison.

Reports of cryptid kangaroos in Wisconsin, especially during the classic flap of 1978, are chronicled, in depth, in Mysterious America.

As far as the “name game” (see Mysterious America, Chapter 22, “The Name Game,”) goes, Hamm is a name I’ve run across before. One specific strange sighting took place on September 19, 1970, near Pana, Illinois, to firefighter A. V. Hamm, who told me a gray tannish pumalike animal appeared to fall out of the sky or leap gracefully over a bunch of bushes near the path of his car.

Photo credit (top): Ralph Hamm.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


8 Responses to “Mystery Kangaroos Again”

  1. Trapster responds:

    People sometimes will keep wallabies as pets and then they escape, they look like a small kangaroo. Perhaps that is one in the photo above. One escaped when I lived near Tampa about 10 years ago and wreaked hopping havoc all around town. I watched some of the chase live on TV from their chase helicopter. Everytime the police thought they had it cornered it would just leap over something, it was so funny to watch everyone in the room had tears in their eyes from the laughter.

  2. MrInspector responds:

    Baby roos and wallabees are cute as a button, but they quickly get to be a handfull. Like all kids, they start out sweet and cute and get obnoxious as they get older, but most people are less inclined to put in the effort for a giant rat. For the average pet owner, I suggest a dog, cat, or maybe a smallish rodent. At least until we find a kangaroo whisperer.

  3. twblack responds:

    I would not think a Roo or Wallabee would make a good pet myself anyway. It is a shame what the exotic pet trade do to some of these aminals.

  4. kittenz responds:

    People sometimes keep the smaller kangas like wallabies as pets – once.

    They don’t make good pets. Heck, they don’t make real good zoo animals, either. They are not affectionate in the way that dogs and cats are, they are difficult to contain, they are somewhat messy, and they can be surprisingly aggressive at times.

  5. rhoadesb responds:

    Non native creatures do turn up in odd places. I imagine many are lost from zoos, abandoned pets, etc..

  6. kittenz responds:

    You would not believe how many pet stores in this country have various exotic pets for sale. In many areas there are either no regulations at all for exotics (except for those banned by federal law), or the local authorities don’t know and/or don’t enforce existing regulations.

    One of my clients bought a wallaby in a small pet store in Pikeville, KY. Another bought a pair of Arctic foxes (called silver foxes in the pet trade) at a different small pet store during the same month in the same town. And just across the border in WV, another client found an African lion cub at a pet store in Logan, WV! Not only did the pet store have the lion cub for sale for $1000, they even let two teenaged boys take the cub home to show to their parents to see if they could buy it!

    It generally isn’t the big chain pet stores that sell exotics like foxes and big cats. Usually it is small mom-and-pop type, privately owned pet stores. Not all small pet stores sell irresponsibly, but hundreds do. Maybe thousands do. Nobody even knows how many exotic animals are sold in the USA each year, but the numbers have to be staggering.

    And a LOT of those animals end up abandoned in the countryside.

  7. pbro responds:

    Seems like Wisconsin would be rather cold for these Creatures to manage, even if they find adequate forrage.

    Otherwise, feral Kangaroos sounds fine to me, and I wish them luck finding their niche and making all the Joeys they can…

  8. kittenz responds:

    There are quite a few wallabies that can tolerate cold weather.



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