On the alert – an grownup
jap gray kangaroo (© fir0002/Wikipedia –
GFDL 1.2 licence)

revealed in Half 1 of this three-part ShukerNature article (click on right here
to learn Half 1), eyewitness descriptions of elusive kangaroo-like beasts
sighted throughout North America range significantly from one to a different – to the
extent whereby it’s potential to divide such creatures, based mostly upon their
reported morphological and behavioural attributes, into a number of classes.
Clearly, due to this fact, a couple of kind of animal is concerned within the enigma of
America’s thriller macropods, as will now be demonstrated.



majority of experiences describe animals that resemble and behave like regular
kangaroos and wallabies; such creatures are readily recognized by their
observers as macropods, and don’t seem in any method unusual in themselves
(apart from the benefit with which they evade seize). They’re made mysterious
the truth is solely by being macropods in America – and thereby out-of-place
and of undetermined origin. Therefore it appears doubtless that such animals are certainly
regular, recognized species of kangaroo and wallaby – however the place have they arrive from?

their native Australian homeland, sure macropod species, e.g. the pink
kangaroo Macropus rufus and sure wallabies, inhabit open plains and
semi-desert areas, whereas numerous different wallabies and the jap gray
kangaroo M. giganteus choose woodland areas. Such habitats are of
course additionally present in America, and correspond carefully with their Australian
counterparts. Accordingly, if any American captive specimens (maintained as
reveals in zoos, circuses, and parks, or in personal households as pets) have
escaped up to now, the possibilities are that in the event that they had been lucky sufficient to
find habitats comparable with these of their native Antipodean homeland, then
they survived.


Purple kangaroos of their
semi-arid native Australian habitat, however not dissimilar from habitats on the
southwestern U.S.A. (public area)

if a pair (or certainly a quantity) of specimens escaped collectively, they might properly
have established a thriving naturalised inhabitants (as has occurred in a number of completely different,
broadly dispersed localities throughout the U.Ok., as an illustration – see later). Having
stated that, the speculation of escapees has been put ahead so often to elucidate
away sightings of thriller or out-of-place beasts in America, Britain, and
elsewhere that it has just about turn out to be a cryptozoological cliché. In some
circumstances, furthermore, it’s painfully insufficient as a passable resolution to such

Within the
case of the ‘regular’ class of New World phantom kangaroos, nevertheless, it does
current itself as a tenable resolution. Actually, many sightings of such beasts
might be in contrast favourably with recognized species. The 5-6-ft reddish-brown
people are plausibly identifiable as male pink kangaroos; comparably-sized
greyish-black specimens are more likely to be both feminine pink kangaroos or jap
gray kangaroos; each species are frequent zoo reveals. Equally, the 3-ft
specimens resemble numerous wallaby species. Certainly, the creature photographed
in color at Waukesha, Wisconsin, throughout April 1978 (see Half 1 of this current
article) particularly resembles Bennett’s wallaby Notamacropus rufogriseus
(as additionally famous by Coleman in Mysterious America), native to Tasmania however
a really frequent exhibit in zoos and parks worldwide.


Bennett’s wallaby squatting upright on its haunches (© Dr Karl

moniker of ‘phantom kangaroo’ has been utilized to America’s thriller macropods
on account of their excessive elusiveness, in flip implying a mystical
connection. Nevertheless, it needs to be remembered that every one however the very greatest macropods
are comparatively defenceless and all are herbivores, thereby constituting the
pure prey of enormous carnivorous species – which in Australasia meant (till
comparatively current instances, geologically talking) not solely the Tasmanian wolf
(thylacine) and dingo but in addition the marsupial lion Thylacoleo.
Consequently, a well-developed capability for evanescence and concealment is a survival
necessity for macropods.

to that is the truth that escapee macropods will clearly be very disoriented at
first, unexpectedly discovering themselves in completely unfamiliar environment with
their earlier, acquainted routine of existence now gone. Their response (and
that of any clever animal confronted with such a state of affairs) might be to show
enhanced defensive and protecting behaviour while acclimatising to their new
environment. Furthermore, as they may quickly uncover, in North America these new
environment comprise a number of very hostile species, which can embrace pumas,
bobcats, lynxes, wolverines, wolves, bears, and people toting rifles, thereby
reinforcing and perpetuating such wariness upon the a part of the macropods


if America’s ‘regular’ contingent of phantom kangaroos does certainly include
escapees and their wild-born descendants, it needs to be no shock to study
that they’re exceedingly elusive. Any incautious people might be killed
in a short time following their authentic escape, by the predators already listed.

remaining level regarding the escapee principle is that escapees are not
all the time reported to the authorities – particularly in the event that they had been pets or
inhabitants of personal collections and (because of this, for instance, of such
escapees having been introduced into the nation illegally, or having prompted any
disturbance, and so forth, whereas on the unfastened) their homeowners could themselves falling foul
of the legislation. Certainly, unreported escapees (plus deliberately-released undesirable
pets) have been answerable for establishing populations of unique animal species
in lots of elements of the world, and can little doubt proceed to take action, albeit to the
inevitable detriment of the native fauna.



choice that should all the time be thought of when coping with thriller creatures is
the chance that at the very least some such sightings are literally misidentifications
of recognized native species.

the North American rodents is a bunch constituting the genus Dipodomys
the kangaroo rats. As one would possibly count on from their title, these possess notably
lengthy hindlimbs and tail, a lot shorter forelimbs, and transfer by way of highly effective bipedal
bounds, thereby paralleling real macropods and occupying in America a
comparable ecological area of interest to that stuffed in Australia by a number of the smaller
desert-living macropods.


A kangaroo rat Dipodomys sp. (public area)

rats inhabit dry or semi-dry sandy nation, and are distributed from southwestern
California southwards to central Mexico. The bigger species, e.g. the large
kangaroo rat D. ingens, attain a complete size of virtually 2 ft. They’re
usually nocturnal creatures, however definitely any people noticed at daybreak
or nightfall might be mistaken for small wallabies. Certainly, kangaroo rats could properly
represent the true identification of a number of the so-called “child kangaroos”
which were reported from many U.S. areas over time.

One other
occasion of mistaken identification could maybe be answerable for the second
class of American phantom kangaroos. Though true kangaroos and wallabies
undertake a quadrupedal posture not solely when grazing but in addition whereas transferring
barely when grazing, their mode of locomotion below all different circumstances
is invariably certainly one of bipedal bounding, with their tail stretched out
horizontally behind and their physique held comparably. Therefore true macropods would
not seem like the identification of these wallaby-sized, less-frequently spied
American ‘kangaroos’ that hop quickly on all fours.


A Bennett’s wallaby adopting a quadrupedal stance whereas
stationary (© Dr Karl Shuker)

group of native New World creatures, nevertheless, whose members are of comparable
dimension and which do behave on this method, consists of the surface-dwelling jack
rabbits (which are literally hares!) of the western United States. Even so,
there are particular issues with equating the quadrupedal ‘kangaroos’ with jack

whereas the previous creatures apparently resemble typical macropods in all however
their mode of development, jack rabbits have notably quick tails and lengthy ears.
Additionally, in view of the very acquainted look of jack rabbits, it’s troublesome
to think about that they might be mistaken for kangaroos by observers. The identical
precept applies to solutions that such beasts had been actually misidentified
fawns. There may be additionally the issue of the 5.5-ft-tall quadrupedal ‘kangaroo’
sighted by Louis Staub in Ohio as detailed in Half 1 of this text. No recognized
lagomorph attains such a dimension. Equally, Staub particularly acknowledged that he was
positive that the creature was not a deer.

A black-tailed jack rabbit Lepus californicus in
quadrupedal pose however with its big ears immediately distinguishing it from all macropods
(© Jim Harper/Wikipedia –
CC BY-SA 2.5 licence)



remaining animal species properly value mentioning within the context of quadrupedal
macropod-like beasts is the mara or Patagonian cavy Dolichotis patagonum.
This most attention-grabbing creature, a guinea-pig relative, is about 2.5 ft in whole
size, and may be very distinct from extra typical cavy species, having advanced
notably lengthy hind limbs and exhibiting a cursorial mode of existence.
Intriguingly, nevertheless, its total look when standing is harking back to a
small macropod on all fours.

this specialised rodent due to this fact be answerable for a number of the quadrupedal ‘kangaroo’
experiences from the States? Sadly, the mara’s distribution vary is restricted to
South America’s southern half. Consequently, though this species definitely
bears comparability with the outline of such creatures (particularly the smaller
ones), it could naturally be fairly ludicrous even to ponder the
chance of native maras having any involvement in America’s phantom
kangaroo phenomenon – however escapees from captivity are one other matter,
particularly as this species is commonly exhibited in zoos.


An beautiful 19th-Century chromolithograph depicting
maras of their native Patagonian pampas along with some rheas (public

as Loren Coleman reported in Fortean Instances (spring 1982): following a
spate of thriller macropod sightings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, throughout summer season 1981, a
unusual bounding creature was really captured proper within the coronary heart of Tulsa on 27
September of that yr – and was discovered to be a mara. Its origin has by no means been
ascertained, nevertheless it was presumably an escapee from captivity. May an elusive
naturalised inhabitants exist in that area, I ponder, descendants of authentic
escapees? Actually the Tulsa atmosphere is suitable with mara survival.

evident that America’s quadrupedal ‘kangaroos’ have but to be recognized with
any diploma of certainty. Clearly, due to this fact, it could be useful for future
experiences and sightings of such animals to be investigated in especial element,
and for them to be formally recognised hereafter as distinct entities from
real phantom (i.e. ‘regular’) kangaroos.

White-snouted coati with upright tail and curled tail tip (© Dennis Jarvis/Wikipedia
CC BY-SA 2.0 licence)

enigmatic, however equally more likely to have an unique clarification, is the 4-ft-tall
bipedal creature – sporting a greyhound-shaped head, quick brown fur, and a
lengthy tail held vertically with a definite curl at its tip – sighted by a Mr
Workman at Tucson, Arizona, in the course of the early Sixties, as detailed in Half 1.
Though bipedal and, in accordance with Workman, resembling in outward look a
kangaroo, it didn’t transfer by way of hopping however by way of strolling – and on notably small
hind toes. These latter options clearly dismiss a macropod identification from
additional consideration. So too does its vertically-held, curl-bearing tail
(macropod tails are uniformly straight and are held horizontally). Clearly this
creature deserves its personal class relative to different phantom kangaroo sightings.

though superficially perplexing, a most believable resolution has the truth is been
put ahead with regard to its doubtless taxonomic identification. In a reply revealed
beneath the unique letter regarding this animal (ISC E-newsletter, spring
1982), J. Richard Greenwell – Secretary of the Worldwide Society of
Cryptozoology (ISC) – advised that the latter may have been a coati.

A troop of white-nosed coatis
with tails duly held vertically and curl-tipped (© Strobilomyces/Wikipedia –
CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

are lithe kin of the raccoons, kinkajou, cacomistles, and different procyonid
carnivores. They attain a complete size of 4 ft, possess a slender head, and a
extremely inquisitive nature, in flip bestowing upon them an inclination to face
upright to be able to observe extra precisely any object that draws their
consideration. Worthy of especial be aware – their tail is held vertically, and curls
at its tip.

though coatis represent a primarily South American taxon, the distribution
of the frequent coati Nasua narica extends as far north because the southern
U.S.A., together with Arizona. To date, due to this fact, the coati and Workman’s creature
accord very carefully each morphologically and geographically. Even so, there are
sure difficulties. The latter beast’s head-and-body size alone measured 4
ft (its tail size was extra to this), and it really walked
bipedally. Coatis, conversely, don’t attain this beast’s whole dimension; nor do
they usually do greater than stand bipedally – when transferring, they often
certain on all fours.

One other picture of the identical
tails-aloft coati troop (© Strobilomyces/Wikipedia –
CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

it’s definitely potential that Workman over­estimated the creature’s dimension.
Equally, some coati people will the truth is stroll at the very least a brief distance
bipedally, identical to their bigger kin the bears. Certainly, in Half 1 of
this text I included a hyperlink to a photograph of a coati doing exactly that (right here
it’s once more); I’ve additionally personally witnessed a pet coati strolling bipedally of
its personal free will (like a real cryptozoologist, nevertheless, I didn’t have a
digicam with me on the time to {photograph} this noteworthy behaviour!). In any
case, the in any other case placing correspondence between Workman’s animal and a coati
– even to the curl-tipped, vertically-held tail – means that that is certainly
the right identification for that exact thriller animal.

of temporary point out right here is one other phantom kangaroo case with procyonid
pertinence. Following the fraught encounter by two policemen in 1974 with an
irascible, 5-ft-tall macropod lookalike nicknamed the Chicago Hopper as
detailed in Half 1, a thriller creature was the truth is captured close by. Not solely
that, it was really provided because the Chicago Hopper’s identification. In actuality,
nevertheless, this was a fairly ridiculous state of affairs, as a result of the captured
critter in query was a kinkajou Potos flavus – a golden-coloured
relative of coatis and raccoons, however which solely attains a complete size of two.5
ft, and appears nothing in any respect like a kangaroo! The truth that the kinkajou is
restricted within the wild state to Central and South America raises some
attention-grabbing questions concerning the seize of a dwelling specimen in Arizona,
however because the latter’s species is a well-liked unique pet and zoo exhibit, it was
in all probability simply one other escapee or deliberate launch from captivity. Regardless
of origin, nevertheless, it was clearly unrelated to the Chicago Hopper incident.


Life-like engraving from 1849 depicting a kinkajou (public



Chicago Hopper is a consultant of the final phantom kangaroo class
delineated by me in Half 1, and whose members I dubbed there as aggressive
growlers and shriekers. Nevertheless, though united by their bellicose behaviour
and vehement vocals, this class’s members morphologically represent a slightly
heterogeneous gathering. Consequently, as it’s doubtless that a couple of
taxonomic identification is concerned right here, the principal examples might be thought of

from the experiences on file regarding the Chicago Hopper, this was in each method
a standard kangaroo – besides, it appeared, for its pugnacity and sudden
utterance of growling noises. Allow us to now look at these latter attributes
carefully. It attacked through the use of its hindlimbs as formidable kicking devices –
which is typical kangaroo behaviour. Moreover, though many individuals
apparently imagine that kangaroos are literally mute or at the very least not vulnerable to
vocalisations of any kind, within the occasion of imminent hazard all grownup kangaroos
(however particularly males) the truth is produce notable cough-like sounds. These serve
to alert all different kangaroos close by.


Classic illustration of a
boxing kangaroo utilizing its hind toes very successfully – and emphatically! – to
kick its human opponent (public area)

When approached
by the 2 policemen, the Chicago Hopper clearly thought of itself to be below
menace, and the 2 responses that it displayed had been people who characterise
grownup kangaroos when uncovered to such circumstances – it voiced its cough-like
alarm sign (which may definitely sound like growling, particularly to 2
witnesses who had been in all probability not anticipating such noises from a kangaroo), and it
defended itself from potential assault through the use of its hind legs as weapons. In
quick, there is no such thing as a motive in any respect to think about additional that the Chicago
Hopper was something apart from a standard kangaroo. In fact, its origin is
nonetheless a thriller, however as it’s assuredly a ‘regular’ phantom kangaroo the
potential options to this riddle have already been handled earlier right here.

the rapacious Tennessee “kangaroo” that attacked, killed, and partly
devoured waterfowl and even numerous giant canine in 1934 is a really completely different
matter. The issue with this specific case is that no report giving any
particular morphological options regarding the animal seems to have been
documented – it was merely described as resembling a “big
kangaroo”. Nevertheless, if the experiences of its carnivorous exercise are
correct, then it was most definitely not a macropod. (Having stated that, such
creatures aren’t fully unknown to science – in the course of the Australian Miocene
epoch, round 20 million years in the past, Queensland was dwelling to some sizeable meat-eating
macropods, belonging to the now long-extinct genus Ekaltadeta.) Moreover, the Reverend W.J. Hancock knowledgeable the New
York Instances
that it was seen “…working throughout the sphere”. As
famous earlier, macropods don’t run.

Creative restoration of
potential look in lifetime of Ekaltadeta
, a prehistoric species of carnivorous Australian macropod from the Miocene
(© Nobu Tamura/Wikipedia –
CC BY 3.0 licence)

this, nevertheless, it’s just about unattainable to invest concerning this cryptid’s
identification. If despite its carnivorous behaviour it resembled a kangaroo as
far as its eyewitnesses had been involved, then presumably it was bipedal. May
it due to this fact have been a bear? Presumably, however certainly it could be troublesome to
confuse a bear with a kangaroo. Sadly, it’s doubtless that this intriguing
thriller beast will stay mysterious, until any report concerning it’s
uncovered that gives additional morphological particulars.

what of the shrieking thriller macropods? What would possibly these be? As might be seen
in Half 3, the concluding a part of this ShukerNature weblog article (click on right here to learn it), one of many
thrilling prospects regarding phantom kangaroos (particularly the extra
weird kinds) is {that a} completely unknown species could also be concerned. And do not
neglect to click on right here to learn Half 1 if you have not already performed so.


How very in contrast to a macropod
can a macropod look just by altering its posture from its default bipedal stance, as demonstrated very readily by this
reposing albino Bennett’s wallaby (© Dr Karl Shuker)


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