In Part 1, I did my best to try and prove that kangaroos are scary. In Part 2, I want to examine the possibility that the United States might have a small kangaroo population.
A recent article on the Atlas Obscura website asked if America had a secret kangaroo population. The article, written by Eric Grundhauser, was published on December 22, 2016. The outlandish headline immediately grabbed my attention when I saw it. But before I even read the piece, I had an answer to the question—a resounding “Yes!”
In Milwaukee, in 1928, a kangaroo was killed by an automobile after it escaped from the zoo.1 In 1950, Max Hess, Jr.’s pet kangaroo escaped from its pen in his backyard in Allentown, Pennsylvania and led a number of folks on a two-hour chase before finally being corralled.2
Moving on to the 1960s, a couple of noteworthy kangaroo incidents occurred. A kangaroo escaped from a circus in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1960. It was observed hoping through a shopping center parking lot. The kangaroo was captured in a nearby field after giving birth to a joey.3 After a “six-day fling,” an escaped kangaroo was captured in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1965.4
One of the best examples of an out-of-place kangaroo took place in 1974 in Chicago. After discovering a loose kangaroo in the city, police officers corralled it in an alley. However, the animal escaped after becoming aggressive. The following month, a kangaroo, presumably the same one, was spotted in Indiana. A kangaroo was spotted by a man in Illinois in 1976.5 Perhaps it was the mischievous escapee from Chicago from more than a year earlier. At any rate, the witness called the police to report the incident, but they failed to locate the fugitive.
In more recent times, runaway kangaroos have been caught on video hoping through the United States. In 2013, hunters in Oklahoma recorded an escaped kangaroo bouncing across a field.
Another video on YouTube shows a kangaroo on the loose in Staten Island, New York.
There are many, many more reports of kangaroos in the United States; I have barely scratched the surface. There are escapees from private collections, circuses, and zoos; there is ample evidence that some of these kangaroos remain at large. Some may have reproduced. You also have to wonder if a number of kangaroos have escaped that have gone unreported—perhaps some that may have been illegally obtained.
So, does the United States have a secret kangaroo population? Yes!
Kangaroos can survive in most of the United States—even in winter. If they have a fall season to adjust to the dropping temperatures and grow a thick coat, they are able to thrive in cold weather.
In Part 3, I will discuss kangaroos and their place in explaining a growing trend in within the field of cryptozoology and the paranormal.
- “Escaped Kangaroo is Killed by Motorist.” Ironwood Daily Globe, July 30, 1928.
- “Escaped Kangaroo has Town Hopping.” Amarillo Daily News, June 2, 1950.
- “Escaped Kangaroo is Recaptured after Giving Birth to Joey.” Sedilia Democrat, July 27, 1960.
- “Kangaroo Back in Hoosier Cage.” Rushville Republican, August 6, 1965
- “Illinois Man Sees Escaped Kangaroo.” New Castle News, April 7, 1976.