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    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 attainable to divide such creatures, primarily based upon their
    reported morphological and behavioural attributes, into a number of classes.
    Clearly, due to this fact, a couple of sort 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 means unusual in themselves
    (aside from the convenience with which they evade seize). They’re made mysterious
    in truth solely by being macropods in America – and thereby out-of-place
    and of undetermined origin. Therefore it appears seemingly that such animals are certainly
    regular, identified species of kangaroo and wallaby – however the place have they arrive from?

    their native Australian homeland, sure macropod species, e.g. the purple
    kangaroo Macropus rufus and sure wallabies, inhabit open plains and
    semi-desert areas, whereas varied different wallabies and the jap gray
    kangaroo M. giganteus want 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 have 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 totally different,
    extensively dispersed localities inside the U.Okay., as an illustration – see later). Having
    stated that, the speculation of escapees has been put ahead so steadily to elucidate
    away sightings of thriller or out-of-place beasts in America, Britain, and
    elsewhere that it has just about develop into a cryptozoological cliché. In some
    instances, 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
    may be in contrast favourably with identified species. The 5-6-ft reddish-brown
    people are plausibly identifiable as male purple kangaroos; comparably-sized
    greyish-black specimens are more likely to be both feminine purple kangaroos or jap
    gray kangaroos; each species are frequent zoo reveals. Equally, the 3-ft
    specimens resemble varied 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 each one however the very largest macropods
    are comparatively defenceless and all are herbivores, thereby constituting the
    pure prey of huge 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 include a number of very hostile species, which can embody 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 be taught
    that they’re exceedingly elusive. Any incautious people might be killed
    in a short time following their authentic escape, by the predators already listed.

    closing level in regards to the escapee idea is that escapees are not
    at all times reported to the authorities – particularly in the event that they have 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 triggered any
    disturbance, and so on, whereas on the unfastened) their homeowners could themselves falling foul
    of the regulation. Certainly, unreported escapees (plus deliberately-released undesirable
    pets) have been liable for establishing populations of unique animal species
    in lots of components of the world, and can little doubt proceed to take action, albeit to the
    inevitable detriment of the native fauna.



    choice that should at all times be thought of when coping with thriller creatures is
    the chance that no less than some such sightings are literally misidentifications
    of identified native species.

    the North American rodents is a gaggle constituting the genus Dipodomys
    the kangaroo rats. As one would possibly anticipate 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
    related ecological area of interest to that crammed 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 just about 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 liable 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 shifting
    barely when grazing, their mode of locomotion beneath all different circumstances
    is invariably one in all bipedal bounding, with their tail stretched out
    horizontally behind and their physique held comparably. Therefore true macropods would
    not look 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 brief tails and lengthy ears.
    Additionally, in view of the very acquainted look of jack rabbits, it’s tough
    to think about that they might be mistaken for kangaroos by observers. The identical
    precept applies to options that such beasts have been actually misidentified
    fawns. There’s 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 identified
    lagomorph attains such a dimension. Equally, Staub particularly said that he was
    certain that the creature was not a deer.

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



    closing animal species properly price 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 complete
    size, and could be very distinct from extra typical cavy species, having developed
    notably lengthy hind limbs and exhibiting a cursorial mode of existence.
    Intriguingly, nevertheless, its general look when standing is harking back to a
    small macropod on all fours.

    this specialised rodent due to this fact be liable for a number of the quadrupedal ‘kangaroo’
    experiences from the States? Sadly, the mara’s distribution vary is proscribed to
    South America’s southern half. Consequently, though this species definitely
    bears comparability with the outline of such creatures (particularly the smaller
    ones), it will 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 usually 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 Occasions (spring 1982): following a
    spate of thriller macropod sightings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, throughout summer season 1981, a
    unusual bounding creature was truly 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, but it surely was presumably an escapee from captivity. May an elusive
    naturalised inhabitants exist in that area, I ponder, descendants of authentic
    escapees? Actually the Tulsa setting is appropriate 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 will be helpful 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, brief brown fur, and a
    lengthy tail held vertically with a definite curl at its tip – sighted by a Mr
    Workman at Tucson, Arizona, through the early Nineteen Sixties, as detailed in Half 1.
    Though bipedal and, in line 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 ft. 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 in truth been
    put ahead with regard to its seemingly taxonomic identification. In a reply printed
    beneath the unique letter regarding this animal (ISC E-newsletter, spring
    1982), J. Richard Greenwell – Secretary of the Worldwide Society of
    Cryptozoology (ISC) – instructed that the latter might 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 relations 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 in an effort to observe extra precisely any object that pulls their
    consideration. Worthy of especial notice – 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 truly walked
    bipedally. Coatis, conversely, don’t attain this beast’s complete dimension; nor do
    they sometimes do greater than stand bipedally – when shifting, they often
    sure on all fours.

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

    it’s definitely attainable that Workman over­estimated the creature’s dimension.
    Equally, some coati people will in truth stroll no less than a brief distance
    bipedally, identical to their bigger relations 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
    digital camera with me on the time to {photograph} this noteworthy behaviour!). In any
    case, the in any other case putting correspondence between Workman’s animal and a coati
    – even to the curl-tipped, vertically-held tail – means that that is certainly
    the proper 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 in truth captured close by. Not solely
    that, it was truly 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 way 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 residing 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 quite
    heterogeneous gathering. Consequently, as it’s seemingly that a couple of
    taxonomic identification is concerned right here, the principal examples might be thought of

    from the experiences on report in regards to the Chicago Hopper, this was in each means
    a traditional 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 by utilizing its hindlimbs as formidable kicking devices –
    which is typical kangaroo behaviour. Moreover, though many individuals
    apparently consider that kangaroos are literally mute or no less than not liable to
    vocalisations of any type, within the occasion of imminent hazard all grownup kangaroos
    (however particularly males) in truth produce notable cough-like sounds. These serve
    to alert all different kangaroos close by.


    Classic illustration of a
    boxing kangaroo utilizing its hind ft 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 beneath
    menace, and the 2 responses that it displayed have been those who characterise
    grownup kangaroos when uncovered to such circumstances – it voiced its cough-like
    alarm sign (which might definitely sound like growling, particularly to 2
    witnesses who have been in all probability not anticipating such noises from a kangaroo), and it
    defended itself from attainable assault by utilizing its hind legs as weapons. In
    brief, there isn’t any motive in any way to think about additional that the Chicago
    Hopper was something aside from a traditional kangaroo. After all, its origin is
    nonetheless a thriller, however as it’s assuredly a ‘regular’ phantom kangaroo the
    attainable options to this riddle have already been handled earlier right here.

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

    Creative restoration of
    attainable 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 not possible to invest concerning this cryptid’s
    identification. If regardless of its carnivorous behaviour it resembled a kangaroo as
    far as its eyewitnesses have been involved, then presumably it was bipedal. May
    it due to this fact have been a bear? Probably, however certainly it will be tough to
    confuse a bear with a kangaroo. Sadly, it’s seemingly 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
    overlook to click on right here to learn Half 1 if you have not already achieved 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)