Man wrestles crazed ninja kangaroo after it invades family home
From Times Online
March 9, 2009
Anne Barrowclough, Sydney
The intruder made no sound as it smashed through the bedroom window of a suburban Australian house and started bouncing on the bed where chef Beat Ettlin and his partner Verity Beaman were sleeping.
Only half awake, Mr Ettlin and Ms Beaman had very different ideas about what was happening in their bedroom. "I thought it was a lunatic ninja coming at us through the window," Mr Ettlin told The Times. "That seemed to make about as much sense as anything else that was happening. I just couldn't comprehend what was going on."
His partner, cowering under the blankets, thought to herself: "This is one big possum."
She told The Times: "When Beatt said ‘It's OK, it's just a kangaroo', I thought it's really not OK. I thought " now this could be really dangerous. I was absolutely terrified."
The family were asleep in their Canberra home in the early hours of Sunday morning when they were alerted to an intruder in their courtyard by the barking of their terrier.
As Mr Ettlin got up to investigate, a huge dark shape smashed through the window and began jumping up and down on the bed where his wife was huddled under the blankets with their daughter Beatrix, 9.
"I really didn't know what was happening," said Mr Ettlin. "I just saw this black thing jumping on the bed and bouncing against the wall. The bed collapsed on one side under his weight. When I realised it was a kangaroo at first I was relieved but he was going crazy trying to escape."
The terrified animal gouged holes in the bed and smeared blood on the bedroom walls before bounding down the hall to the bedroom of their son, Leighton, 10, who hid behind his teddy bears screaming: "There's a kangaroo in my bedroom".
Mr Ettlin said: "I thought that's enough, I can't have this any more.
"I knew this was a big threat to my family, it could really have hurt us. My wife and daughter were terrified, they were screaming as they hid under the blankets and my son was trying to hide behind his little teddies. I had to do something."
Wearing only his underwear, Mr Ettlin, a chef originally from the Swiss city of Stans, jumped on the two-metre high kangaroo from behind and got it in a headlock. Using his entire body weight to pin the kangaroo down, he wrestled it down the corridor and out the front door.
"I really felt its power," he said. "It was trying to escape and I knew I had to make sure it didn't get up again because it could really have hurt me, and hurt my family." With one hand he opened the front door and pushed the marsupial into the night.
"It took only a few minutes," he said. "And all that time there was no sound at all. I could feel the kangaroo breathing really hard and fast against my body but he didn't make a sound. All I could hear was Verity's screams.
"When it was all over I had a few scratches on my legs, and there wasn't much left of my underwear."
The drama played out in Garran, a suburb of Canberra near a reserve that is home to a number of grey kangaroos and the family, who only moved to their new home three weeks ago, believe that their intruder must have been one of these local animals. Neighbours have told them that a large kangaroo had recently been seen grazing on their front lawn, said Ms Beaman, an English teacher.
"The poor thing, he was terrified," she said. "He must have got stuck in our courtyard, and was terrified by the dog's barking so leapt for a dark space to escape. But that dark space was our bedroom."
Describing her husband as a "hero in torn underwear", she said: "He's quite burly, but it was a struggle for him to control the kangaroo."
Eastern grey kangaroos are common around Canberra's forested urban fringe and have become so numerous that there is an debate about the need to cull them to stop them ruining the habitat.
It is not unusual for them to invade the city, particularly during droughts when they come in search of water and food. Normally timid, they become aggressive if they feel threatened and, with the potential to reach six feet in height, can seriously injure humans. Four years ago a woman was attacked as she walked her poodle in a Canberra street and another woman watched as a kangaroo killed her golden retriever.
Greg Baxter, a Queensland University lecturer on Australian native animals, said that kangaroos rarely invade homes but have done so in the past when panicked.
"It is very unusual, but when kangaroos become panicked they lose all sense of caution and just fly for where they think they can get away," he said.
Wildlife authorities confirmed today that they had received a phone call saying an injured kangaroo had entered the caller's home and left.