A daily walk with his two dogs turned into a nightmare for Australian farmer Chris Rickard who was attacked by a kangaroo in a violent 30-minute rampage on his property today.
Mr Rickard, 49, was left with injuries to his face, chest and abdomen after going to the rescue of his blue heeler cattle dog, Rocky. The dog was being drowned by a 5ft eastern grey kangaroo in a bizarre encounter on his 20-acre farm at Arthurâ€™s Creek in north eastern Victoria.
â€œSkippy has no longer got the same significance for me anymore,â€ Mr Rickard told The Times, nursing his wounds at his home while the kangaroo remained at large outside in the neighbouring paddocks.
Mr Rickardâ€™s injuries included a 20cm-long gash to his abdomen so deep it almost perforated his stomach lining after the kangaroo tried to disembowel him with its powerful hind legs.
The incident began when Rocky accidentally disturbed the kangaroo which was snoozing in long grass. The dog pursued the startled animal as it hopped away down the paddock towards a dam, followed by Mr Rickardâ€™s horses who also made a charge for it.
The marsupial then stopped in shallow water and began to fight back at the dog, using its forelimbs to push Rocky under the water for about 20 seconds.
Realising his pet was in grave danger, Mr Rickard jumped into the water and tried to make a grab for Rocky, only to also be attacked by the angry kangaroo.
â€œHe slashed right across my face with his and managed to tear open a large cut on my forehead … there was so much blood I could only see out of one eye,â€ Mr Rickard said. The kangaroo also tried to drown him while he was trying to protect the drowning dog and himself.
â€œThe kangaroo had a couple of free shots at me where it raked my chest, my back, my face … everything with its paws. It was trying to push me under water, but the water wasnâ€™t deep enough. Then it gave me a very big hit with its hind legs.â€
Mr Rickard managed to back himself and the dog out of the dam and retreat to his house where he called a neighbour to get help. He was treated in hospital for his wounds and released on Monday evening.
The farmer said he regularly sees kangaroos â€“ sometimes in mobs of up to 30 â€“ which cross the valleys on his property, but has never encountered one so aggressive.
â€œWe usually donâ€™t have a problem with them and they are normally welcome at my place, we just always make sure we keep a distance between the dogs and the kangaroo,â€ he said. â€œBut Iâ€™ve never seen anything like this before.â€
Mr Rickard said he will be wary but not too worried about kangaroos in future, but he is concerned about the impact the attack will have on his dog. â€œWe are worried Rocky might be afraid of water now, and we hope heâ€™s not going to be terrified of the sight of a kangaroo on the property,â€ he said.
When asked when he next plans to take the dogs out for a walk, Mr Rickard said he would wait a week or two. â€œI think my girlfriend will take them out tomorrow,â€ he said. â€œBut if she does sheâ€™ll take a big stick with her for protection.â€
The kangaroo is not usually violent towards humans. They are known to retreat to water, if it is around, when they feel threatened and attack using their hind legs which are so powerful they can disembowel animals.
Kangaroos are commonly found in the rural area of Arthurâ€™s Creek, which is situated near the towns of Kinglake and Whittlesea. They were devastated by the “Black Saturday” bushfires in February.