One of the Georgia’s little known attractions is the Kangaroo Conservation Center near Dawsonville. They have about 200 kangaroos there. The primary purpose of the place is breeding kangaroos to supply zoos, but they run a decent tourist business as well. A tour is about 2 hours. Part of that time is inside and where they introduce you to the different kinds of kangaroos and wallabies they have. They just let them run around an enclosed area with you, but they typically don’t come real close. They are very gentle animals and look a lot like deer when they’re not hopping around.

They also showed off a kookaburra and a very tiny antelope called a dik-dik. Dik-diks are territorial and mark their territory by rubbing a gland under their eye on anything that sticks out like a limb. They told us to stick out our fingers and some of the dik-diks marked people’s fingers with a tarry little blotch (one marked Susan’s finger, but not mine). Here’s a picture I took later of a dik-dik being curious through the pen fence. Their noses are very flexible and they can bend them around easily. They are very, very cute and about the size of small dog.

The place takes good care of them, making you wash your hand before possibly touching them (none ever came quite close enough to touch) and walking across an anti-bacterial mat before entering the grounds. The facilities seem to be very good.

After that introduction everyone gets on board a converted army truck (a deuce and half; it can really climb hills) and they drive you through some of the multi-acre pens. You don’t get to walk around with the kangaroos, but there are tons of them! Mostly they sit around in the shade, but the truck scares them a little bit and they get up and hop out of the way. It’s cool to see a whole bunch (mob) of them hopping along. They pointed out that kangaroos are the second fastest land animal behind the cheetah. That just shows that nobody cares about second place because I’d never heard that. Fortunately there are no cheetahs in Australia. The only thing that was missing was we didn’t see any mothers with joeys in their pouches.

It’s kind of expensive ($25 for adults; $20 for children over 8), but where else are you going to see so many kangaroos? It was pretty neat.

12 thoughts on “Kangaroos

  1. It seems like deer come out a lot at dusk so maybe the big eyes help then. Plus hoofed animals seem to have big eyes anyway.

    They mark their young too. Some twigs sticking out in their pen had globs of tar that had built up from being marked so many times. House cats are big in to marking too. They have a scent gland on the side of their neck which is why they are always rubbing up against things. You just can’t see those marks.

  2. awwww very cute little dik-dik!!!

    that is adventurous for them to actually come near people.

    is the zoo far away? (i do not know where dawsonville is)

  3. Dawsonville is about 60 miles up Georgia 400 from Atlanta. Apparently this one dik-dik is particularly friendly. They are used to people because the center lets their three dik-diks run around with the visitors for a little while as part of the demonstration.

  4. Kangaroos are definitely not the second fastest animal. I did a search on second fastest animals and came up with several results, most popular being ostriches. But they aren’t any faster than kangaroos.

    It is hard to get reliable lists of how fast animals are, but I put together a list. There are tons of different kinds of gazelles and antelopes but that would take up most of the list, so I just picked the fastest.

    Cheetah, 70 mph

    Pronghorn Antelope, 61

    Quarter Horse, 55

    Lion, 50

    Thomson’s Gazelle, 50

    Wildebeest, 50

    Elk, 45

    Red Kangaroo, 43

    Greyhound, 42

    Coyote, 40

    Ostrich, 40

    Zebra, 40

    Mongolian Wild Ass, 40

  5. Whose Mom? I get accused of many things, but I never said for you not to be a Mongolian Wild Ass, that I know of. I enjoyed re-reading your post on the Kangaroos, though.

  6. re: “it was only Jeb that Mom was mad at”– C

    I will, once again, retell the story of the three younger siblings coming home from church with a very mad Mom who lined them up to get spanked… and then what oldest sibling broke the tension by yelling “me first me first!”

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