Photo from Chicago

Out-of-place, kangaroo-like MARSUPIAL seen in 
North America and Europe far outside its normal 

Physical description: Height, 3–6 feet. Light tan 
to brown in color. Pointed ears. Pointed snout. 
Large hind legs and small forelegs. Long tail.

Behavior: Takes long jumps. Can move as fast 
as 20 miles an hour.

Distribution: United States, especially in the 
East and Midwest; southern Canada; England; 
Moselle Department, France; Värmland 
County, Sweden.

A partial list of North American places where 
Phantom kangaroos have been reported follows:

California—San Francisco.



Illinois—Chicago, Dalton City, Du Quoin, 
Evanston, Lansing, Plano, Rock Island.

Indiana—Carmel, Rensselaer, Sheridan.

Iowa—Ottumwa, Wellman.

Kansas—Abilene, Wakefield.

Michigan—Detroit, East Lansing.

Minnesota—Anoka, Coon Rapids.

Nebraska—Grand Island, Endicott, Fairbury, 

New Brunswick, Canada—Milltown, Miramichi.

New York—Webster.

North Carolina—Asheville.

Nova Scotia, Canada—Bridgetown.

Ohio—Grove City, Monroe.

Oklahoma—Owasso, Tulsa.

Ontario, Canada—Scarborough.


Utah—Cedar Fort.


Wisconsin—Brookfield, Eau Claire County, 
New Richmond, Pewaukee, Waukesha.

Significant sightings: During the New Richmond, 
Wisconsin, tornado of June 12, 1899, a 
kangaroo was seen running through a woman’s 
backyard. Although a circus was in town, apparently 
no kangaroos were accompanying it.

On January 13 and 14, 1934, a giant kangaroo 
reportedly killed and ate some police dogs in 
Hamburg, Tennessee. Rev. W. J. Hancock saw 
it running and leaping across a field.

On July 28, 1958, Charles Wetzel saw a deerlike 
animal chasing some dogs by his cabin on 
the Platte River near Grand Island, Nebraska. 
When he got within 10 yards of it, he realized it 
was a kangaroo. It bounded away into an alfalfa 
field, taking 10-foot leaps. Wetzel, who operated 
a brewery, was so taken with the experience 
that he named one of his beer brands “Wetzel 
Kangaroo Beer.”

Chicago policemen Leonard Ciagi and 
Michael Byrne encountered a 5-foot kangaroo 
in the early morning of October 18, 1974, in a 
dark alley on the northwest side of the city. 
When Ciagi tried to handcuff it, the animal 
kicked him hard in the legs before it escaped by 
leaping over a fence.

After more than two weeks of mysterious 
kangaroo sightings in the Waukesha, Wisconsin, 
area, two men took a blurry Polaroid photograph 
of a kangaroo they saw in the bush near 
Pewaukee on April 24, 1978. Loren Coleman 
says it resembles a Red-necked wallaby (Macropus 
rufogriseus) or Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor). 
Years later, an unconfirmed story surfaced 
that the two men were taxidermists who 
had taken a photo of a stuffed wallaby.

In early June 1981, Ray Ault was tending 
sheep near Cedar Fort, Utah, when he saw a big, 
yellowish kangaroo jump past his herd.

On August 4, 1999, Lois Eckhardt saw a kangaroo- 
like animal with a long tail on her cattle 
farm near Wellman, Iowa.

In October 2000, there were four sightings of 
a 6-foot kangaroo nibbling on leaves in Beckenham 
Place Park, near Lewisham, London.

Possible explanations: 
(1) Zoo escapees, such as a Kinkajou (Potos 
flavus), Mara (Dolichotis spp.), Civet 
(Viverrinae), or an actual Kangaroo (Family 
Macropodidae), have been suggested as 
candidates and occasionally caught. 
(2) The raccoonlike White-nosed coati 
(Nasua narica) often carries its long tail 
erect as it runs, though it is seen more often 
in bands rather than alone. Its range is 
limited to Arizona, New Mexico, and 

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