To Australians, the idea of someone having not seen a kangaroo is insane. They’re everywhere here. After I had informed my host family of the fact that I’d only seen kangaroos when they were behind glass in zoos, they immediately decided we had to go and find them. (Not that this was a difficult task to complete). After dinner, we head out at dusk; when they are most likely to be out. The whole family hops in the big truck with four-wheel drive, and we set off. I got the front seat, in order to have the best view of the ‘roos. We drive off the property and go about 10 minutes away, and turn onto a “road” filled with rocks and tall grass. As we bump along, there aren’t many kangaroos to be seen, which was a shock to my family.
As we look for more roos, they explain the concept of roo-bars to me. Roo-bars are big protective bars that most trucks and cars in Australia will have attached to the front of their car, in order to protect their cars from the damage of kangaroos. Kangaroos are so common in Australia, that rather than worry about the animal when they are hit with the car, Australians worry about the cars.
After weaving in and out of the pine forests for a while, we finally spotted a roo. Then another. And another. Every time we saw one, we would floor the gas pedal, and head right for the roos, in hopes that they would jump over fences and give me a real show. And let me tell you, those animals can move. When we were speeding 40 kilometers per hour, the kangaroos were just striding alongside us with ease. Watching them easily hop over five foot paddock fences was hilariously beautiful. I felt like I was living in an Australian postcard, with the sun setting behind the roos as they jump along in huge herds.
As the chasing starts to wind down, and it looks like we’ve officially scared all of the kangaroos into the woods, we start to head back to our property for the night. While driving back, we notice that one of the fields is completely covered in what must have been over 200 kangaroos. They were completely swarming the fields, not that the cows could be bothered. It may be hard to imagine due to the seven-foot height difference, but at the end of the day, kangaroos can be easily compared to squirrels in America. Abundant, and eventually, annoying.