Wanted: The Phantom Kangaroo

The phantom of the kangaroo is there… inside your mind.

Bigfoot. Loch Ness Monster. Yeti. Chupacabra. Fruit Stripe gum flavor. Phantom kangaroos. What do all these have in common? They only leave traces of their existence and are more than likely superficial.

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.

Jonathan Swift

Phantom kangaroo meaning

A phantom kangaroo refers to a report of kangaroo sightings in areas where there is no known native population. Wild kangaroos mostly live in Australia. Smaller populations exists in Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Therefore, a wild kangaroo sighting in any other area besides the aforementioned three countries, would make the appearance a phantom kangaroo.

A phantom kangaroo sighting can occur if someone thinks they saw the animal itself or traces of the animal; such as a footprint. Recorded phantom kangaroo sightings have occurred in the United States, United Kingdom, French, and Japan.

As phantoms frighten beasts when shadows fall.

Dante Alighieri

Phantom kangaroo sightings

The book “Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation’s Weirdest Wonders“, written by Loren Coleman, claims that kangaroos have been spotted in Nebraska, Kansas, and Minnesota. Additional sightings in the United States of America have occurred in Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and New York. One of the earliest U.S based phantom kangaroo sightings took place near South Pittsburg, Tennessee, in 1934. Several witnesses reported the “kangaroo-like beast” over five days. They claimed it to have killed and partially eaten several animals, including ducks, geese, and dogs. “Kangaroo tracks” were followed, but ended near the entrance to a cave. The phantom kangaroo remains urban legend since a real kangaroo was never found.

In other countries, a phantom kangaroo sighting often ends up being a lone or a small population of wallabies. They’ve likely either escaped from a zoo or exotic pet captivity.

Kangaroos and wallabies are surprisingly hardy in cold temperatures. They will adapt if they can acclimatize over the course of the autumn season and grow a winter coat.

Kangaroos are herbivores and generally shy around humans; the likelihood of the phantom kangaroo of South Pittsburg, Tennessee, killing and eating other animals is slim. However, kangaroos can become aggressive when they feel threatened. You don’t want to pick a fight with one, real or phantom. A kangaroo kick delivers 759 pounds of force. Don’t even try to outrun a phantom kangaroo, it’s a ghost for one, and secondly kangaroos can reach speeds up to and over 44 mph (71 km/h).

Even Usain Bolt, the fastest human alive, knows to get in the fetal position if crossing paths with a spooky roo.

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