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Dog saves woman attacked by kangaroo

July 20, 2008 |  6:09 pm

From Australia comes an Associated Press report about a 65-year-old woman who was attacked by a large kangaroo then saved by the family dog.

In an interview with the AP on Saturday, the victim's son said his mother, Rosemary Neal, was attacked a day earlier as she went to check on some horses at a farm in Mudgee, 160 miles northwest of Sydney. Darren Neal said the 6-foot-5 kangaroo lunged at his mother without warning.

The AP tells what happened:

The kangaroo "just jumped up and launched straight at her," Darren Neal said. "He hit her once and she just dropped and rolled. My dog heard her screaming and bolted down and chased him off."

"If it wasn’t for the dog, she’d probably be dead."

Rosemary Neal was hospitalized with a concussion and deep cuts to her face, hands and back, he said.

Australia is home to dozens of kangaroo species, ranging from tiny potoroos to red kangaroos, the largest marsupials in the world at up to 6 feet tall and 200 pounds.  They are not usually aggressive toward humans, and attacks are rare. 

According to the AP, male kangaroos sometimes spar over potential mates, "rearing up on their tails to scratch at the soft flesh of the bellies of their rivals with the powerful legs they more commonly use for their trademark leaps."

Darren Neal said his mother thought nothing of walking through the mobs of kangaroos that had become common on their farm.  Usually, they just jumped away, the AP reported.

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