HomeNutsWTFMan punches a kangaroo in the face to rescue his dog

Man punches a kangaroo in the face to rescue his dog

Video shot in June but going viral this week shows a dramatic encounter between a large male kangaroo and a man in Australia.

The man, who was reportedly out pig hunting with his dog and several friends in rural New South Wales, saw that his hunting dog was being forced into a headlock by a large kangaroo. The man, reported to be Greig Tonkins, 34, rushed up to help his dog.

Startled, the kangaroo let go of the dog. But Tonkins—who told media that he wanted to scare off the kangaroo and give his dog a chance to retreat—punched the marsupial in the face.

“The guy’s very lucky because he could have been killed,” says Marco Festa-Bianchet, a National Geographic explorer who studies kangaroos and who is a biologist at Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec.

Contrary to popular belief, kangaroos don’t normally try to box, or punch, each other, says Festa-Bianchet. Instead, they prefer to balance on their strong tails and kick with their powerful back legs.

“If the kangaroo had done that to the guy it could have disemboweled him,” says Festa-Bianchet.

Another technique kangaroos sometimes use is to try to claw their opponents’ eyes out, which also could have left Tonkins seriously injured.

The kangaroo is clearly a large male, Festa-Bianchet says. It stands roughly 6 feet tall and may weigh as much as 170 pounds. An animal like that could be 9 to 15 years old and is in the prime of its life.

Male kangaroos often battle each other in the wild over access to breeding females, sometimes to the point of death. Usually, however, a male will yield to the stronger challenger, often showing subservience by grooming or making a coughing sound.

“I’m sure the punch hurt,” says Festa-Bianchet. “You can tell the kangaroo is like ‘whoa what was that?’ That’s not what another kangaroo would do and a human does not give the right signals. It kind of looks funny but it really was a dangerous situation.”

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