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Viral Photo: Kangaroo Cradles His Dying Mate

We do not often view animals as creatures with feelings but, time and again, many have proven that they have some feelings, too. Take for example the kangaroos photographed by Evan Switzer in River Heads, Queensland, in Australia.

Right under a mango tree, a female kangaroo lay dying while its joey (baby kangaroo) and mate were looking on. The dying female tried hard to stand up but kept falling down. As she kept trying to stand up but could only move her head a little, the male moved in a gesture that appeared to cradle her head.

The poignant moment was caught on camera and shared by Switzer who said he had never seen anything like it in all his travels.

Switzer said, “I’ve travelled around a bit and you see a lot of dead roos on the side of the road—but I’ve never seen anything like that before … The male would chase the other kangaroos that came around away—he was sort of protective over the female.

He also added, “The young one looked kind of confused, it would stand by the mother and then hop off and chew some grass, and then come right back again.

It is amazing to see such a lovely moment, knowing that the male kangaroo must have been trying to show his love to his mate even in her last living moments.

Photo credit: Evan Switzer
Photo credit: Evan Switzer/The Guardian

Some experts believe, however, that the male was not actually cradling the female but was possibly trying to mate with her, with the “sinister” move actually killing her. University of Sydney senior lecturer in veterinary pathology, Dr. Derek Spielman, said that the male could have caused the injuries the female had died for.

Competition between males to mate with females can be fierce and can end in serious fighting. It can also cause severe harassment and even physical abuse of the target female, particularly when she is unresponsive or tries to get away from amorous male,” Spielman explained.

He added, “Pursuit of these females by males can be persistent and very aggressive to the point where they can kill the female. That is not their intention but that unfortunately can be the result, so interpreting the male’s actions as being based on care for the welfare of the female or the joey is a gross misunderstanding, so much so that the male might have actually caused the death of the female.”

Kangaroos

Kangaroos are marsupials that are endemic in Australia, meaning they are only native to Australia. Although you might find kangaroos in zoos or nature parks in some places in the world, these are only imported from Australia but did not naturally come from the place.

Like other marsupials, kangaroos give birth to dependent babies that live inside their pouch (also called marsupium) for several months to complete they postnatal development.

There are actually four species of kangaroos: the red kangaroo, the eastern grey kangaroo, the western grey kangaroo, and the antilopine kangaroo.

Kangaroos have large hind legs and short front limbs. They move by hopping about, using their massive tails to balance themselves.

Kangaroos are the unofficial symbol of Australia.

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