A five o'clock wake up probably isn't on anyone's 'favourites' list, but armed with cameras and coffee, we dingy-ed to the beach at Cape Hillsborough, Australia in hopes of capturing some spectacular photographs.
Years ago, every dawn and dusk, nearby kangaroos and wallabies would venture out onto the Cape Hillsborough beach for food and water. When people discovered this habit, they flocked to the beach, pushing the kangaroos and wallabies farther away until they no longer frequented Cape Hillsborough.
The Red Kangaroo is the largest surviving marsupial in the world and the most common of the four main breed of kangaroos living in Australia. A male Red Kangaroo can stand up to two meters tall at full height and weigh 200 pounds. The males can cover 8-9 meters in one leap, reaching a height of 1.8-3 meters. Their tails can grow up to 1.2 meters.
While the males are the largest mammals native to Australia, the females are considerably smaller. A full grown female can weigh anywhere from 40-88 pounds, have a tail of 26-33 inches and stand approximately 1.5 meters tall.
Before all of the Red Kangaroo's natural predators became extinct, these Roos had a clever way to outsmart their attackers. Being skilled swimmers, a pursued roo would lead its unsuspecting assailant into the water, where it would then drown its enemy.
Nowadays, dingoes and eagles are the only remaining natural dangers to kangaroos, and only to joeys, who lack the size and aggressiveness that the larger marsupials have. When provoked, an adult kangaroo can stand up on its hind legs, using its tail as a tripod, to deliver a powerful blow with its large back feet.
Red Kangaroos prefer to live in scrubland, grassland or desert, providing there are enough trees for them to lounge in the shade of. These roos are somewhat Home-based, choosing an area to live in and only moving on when absolutely necessary. A lack of food or a drought could force a kangaroo family to move onto new feeding grounds. Sometimes kangaroos travel and live in groups of up to 1,500 roos. Kangaroos are fairly nocturnal animals, preferring to relax or sleep in the shade during the day and becoming more active at night during the cooler hours.
When Europeans first discovered kangaroos when they explored Australia, they described their find as an animal with a head like an antler-less deer, who hopped like a frog and stood upright like a human. When these travellers saw a joey peaking out of its mothers' pouch, stories spread back home in Europe about the infamous two headed kangaroo.
Cape Hillsborough has, again, become a popular hangout for kangaroos and wallabies during the dawn and dusk hours. After the kangaroos and wallabies were pushed away by tourists, a local campsite manager began leaving food on the beach, luring them back.
Now, with a barrier in place so people don't impose, Cape Hillsborough is back in the tourist books. People gather on the beach at six in the morning, cameras poised, ready to snap shots of kangaroo silhouettes against the sunrise.