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How an Australian Golf Course Became a Kangaroo Haven

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In the grasslands of Australia, kangaroos have evolved to thrive in an environment with some of the lowest nitrogen levels on the planet. However, a particular group of kangaroos has demonstrated the transformative effects of a change in their environment. The Anglesea Golf Club near Melbourne has become an unexpected haven for the eastern gray kangaroo. Since its establishment 60 years ago, the golf course’s kangaroo population has significantly increased. The latest tally reveals a staggering 359 kangaroos, averaging nearly 20 per hole.

Kangaroos thrive on golf course
© BBC Earth YouTube

Why the Golf Course?

But what’s behind this population boom? Two primary factors contribute to this phenomenon. Firstly, the kangaroos are protected within the confines of the golf club, ensuring their safety from potential threats. Secondly, and perhaps more intriguingly, is the role of nitrogen fertilizer.

The ground staff at the golf club routinely apply nitrogen fertilizer to the greens. The grassroots rapidly absorbs this nitrogen, transforming it into protein. This results in healthier, protein-rich grass, ideal for golf, and provides a nutritional bonanza for the kangaroos. Consuming this “supercharged” grass enables the kangaroos to breed more rapidly, with a higher survival rate among the offspring.

In essence, these kangaroos have stumbled upon a nutritional jackpot courtesy of the nitrogen-infused grasslands of the Anglesea Golf Club.

YouTube video
© BBC Earth YouTube

Fun Facts About Kangaroos

  • Kangaroos use their tails for balance; without them, they can’t hop.
  • They can’t walk backward.
  • With powerful legs, kangaroos can be surprisingly dangerous.
  • Baby kangaroos are affectionately known as joeys.
  • They have a unique drinking method, curling their tongue to siphon water.
  • A single leap can cover a distance of up to three times the body length.
  • Contrary to what one might think, kangaroos are adept swimmers and can dog paddle using their front legs.


At Anglesea Golf Club, the kangaroos are thriving and deeply cherished. Visitors can even take guided tours to observe and appreciate these iconic Australian marsupials in their natural habitat. This story serves as a testament to the unforeseen consequences of human interventions.

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Latest posts by Cayla de Souza, M.Sc. Ocean Sciences & Marine Biology (see all)

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