Kangaroo’s Powerful Kick Lands Man in Hospital

Sep 22, 2011 6:32pm

John Kokas, the 80-year-old founder of Kokas Exotics, an animal farm in Green Camp, Ohio, was seriously injured by one of his kangaroos Tuesday.

ABC News Columbus affiliate WSYX obtained the 911 call:

Dispatcher: “What’s going on?”

Caller: “My father-in-law got hurt by an animal, bad.”

Dispatcher: “OK, what are his injuries?”

Caller: “All over. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s bad. “

The 3-year-old male kangaroo was about 6 feet tall and weighed approximately 200 pounds.

Kokas was discharged from the hospital Wednesday, a Marion General Hospital spokeswoman told ABCNews.com.

Family members told WSYX they had raised the kangaroo since it was 6 months old, and although it had never been violent before, they have decided to euthanize it.

Adele Dodge, who manages the kangaroo exhibit at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, said kangaroos typically keep to themselves. At the zoo, a 2-foot-high fence is the only barrier separating visitors from the kangaroos.

“Kangaroos are more of a flight animal than a fight animal,” said Dodge, who has been working with the marsupials since 1993. “If they’re threatened, their first instinct or reaction is going to be to get away from the threat.”

She has never seen a kangaroo attack a person before, but when males fight one another, their sparring can cause a lot of damage.

“When they’re boxing, they’ll put all their weight on their tail and kick with both feet together,” she said. ”The males will box each other usually over females.”

It’s unclear why Kokas was attacked. But Dodge noted if a kangaroo in a small enclosure feels threatened, he might fight because he doesn’t have anywhere to run.

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