The Real Story Behind Roger the 'Roo

There's more to him than social media star.

ByABC News
June 10, 2015, 3:20 PM
Roger the kangaroo crushes steel in the viral photo that made him famous.
Roger the kangaroo crushes steel in the viral photo that made him famous.
Courtesy The Kangaroo Sanctuary

— -- Roger the 'roo recently had a major moment of Internet fame when a photo of the muscle-bound kangaroo crushing steel went viral.

The photo was so amazing, some people even questioned its authenticity.

But Roger is very real, and there's more to him than his strength. (Though at 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds, the 9-year-old kick-boxer is very strong indeed.)

Turns out Roger lives at The Kangaroo Sanctuary, a 90-acre wildlife reserve in Alice Springs, Australia. He was rescued by his "dad," Chris "Brolga" Barns, the star of “Kangaroo Dundee,” as a joey in 2006. Brolga found Roger in his mother's pouch on a highway. His mom had died.

PHOTO:  Roger hugs his stuffed bunny
Roger hugs his stuffed bunny

Roger's trained in hand-to-hand combat. And he's pretty tough, even when it comes to the man who saved him. Male red kangaroos have the natural instinct to kick-box because they fight with other males in order to become alpha male who then mate with female kangaroos. Roger also views Brolga as competition just because he too is a male. Roger will try to kick-box Brolga, although he isn't successful.

But Roger has a softer side. Here he is cuddling a stuffed bunny. But it's said that after the photo was taken he threw the bunny to the ground and tried to kick-box it, too.

PHOTO:  Roger as a joey, or baby kangaroo
Roger as a joey, or baby kangaroo

Twenty-five kangaroos live at the sanctuary, but being a social media star has led Roger to be the main attraction, bringing visitors from all around the world to get a glimpse. It's hoped that Roger's star power will lead to an increase in donations for the sanctuary, as Brolga hopes to build a wildlife hospital on its grounds.