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Australia's national animal: Stampy
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Ah yes, the kangaroo. Perhaps one of the silliest looking animals around: It hops around on two huge feet, it has a thick tail and, of course, it has a pouch. Because of their almost cartoonish nature, kangaroos are certainly ubiquitous in fiction. Sort of another animalistic Rule of Cool, if you will. Maybe it's just that exotic feel that Australia gives — after all, this is the country that's also home to the trope-worthy platypus. If the work is set in Australia, this is commonly a way to say "Hey! We're in Australia, mate!"

If it's a male, expect him to be named "Joey", have a comically exaggerated Aussie accent and possibly have a pouch (even though, in reality, only the females have pouches). It may also be depicted boxing, carrying someone in its pouch, maybe sporting an Australian Army slouch hat with one brim pinned up, or just plain jumping really high.

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Occasionally, a wallaby may be used instead. Think of them as fun-size kangaroos.

Be warned: kangaroos have very sharp claws on their huge feet, and will use them on you if you get too close. Although it is rare, they are capable of killing a human being (just like pretty much everything else in Australia).

Subtrope to National Animal Stereotypes. Compare Boxing Kangaroo.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The Aussie brand of shampoo has a purple kangaroo for a mascot. Some of their ads include a purple animatronic kangaroo puppet.
  • Dish Network's Hopper device has a red kangaroo for a logo.
    • And within the commercials, kangaroos are present in the most unlikely places!
  • Dunkaroos cookies.
  • The mascot for Malt-O-Meal's off-brand line of cereal is a blue kangaroo in sunglasses, with a joey in her (?) pouch. Their names are Cool Blue and L'il Oaty.
  • As part of Google's Logo Joke, the 2006 Christmas ones involved what appear to be kangaroo parents and their joey. For no particular reason. There are also kangaroos in the logo for 2006's Australia day.
  • In the late Seventies, the Australian government ran an advertising campaign aimed at encouraging Australians to be nicer to tourists. It listed a series of foreign misconceptions about Australia, including the idea that kangaroos catch trams.
  • Speedy Cash loans has a mascot named Speedy Roo.
  • Yellow Tail, an Australian brand of wine, has a type of Wallaby on its bottle. However, a Super Bowl ad contains a kangaroo.
  • In 1990s UK advertising for Kellogg's Coco Pops, one of Coco's friends was Kylie Kangaroo, who had an Australian accent and was obviously named after Australian pop star Kylie Minogue.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Australia from Hetalia: Axis Powers has a pet kangaroo in one of his sketches, and she has her baby in her pouch.
  • When the Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo crew travel to Sydney, everyone there is either a kangaroo or a koala.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam is a story about an international martial arts tourney where each country's fighter controls a Humongous Mecha with a motion capture interface. Australia's entry is, of course, a Boxing Kangaroo.
    • Another G Gundam spinoff manga shows a different Australian Gundam from an earlier tournament, the Southern Cross Gundam. While it's based on an aborigine warrior with a giant boomerang with a fannypack containing a smaller Gundam sticking out of it presumably to mimic a kangaroo pouch for some bizarre reason.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, the main characters are initially stationed at a base in Australia. Naturally, they wear shoulder patches displaying a kangaroo.
  • Adventures of the Little Koala features an Anthropomorphic Animal cast and is set in Australia, and although the main protagonist is a koala (another mammal closely identified with Australia), the closest the series has to regular antagonists are three kangaroos, Walter, Horsey, and Colt.
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    Asian Animation 
  • Episode 11 of Pleasant Goat Fun Class: Travel Around the World has the gang go to Australia to find Slowy. Besides the other goats they see looking for him, there are also several kangaroos that appear throughout the episode.

    Comic Books 
  • In Tank Girl, the title character's boyfriend is a male kangaroo named Booga.
  • Marvel has the villain Kangaroo, a Spider-Man villain who made his first appearance in the seventies. Second character sporting the alias even had a kangaroo-like high-tech suit.
  • Comic Cavalcade: When Cotton Top Katie's uncle from Australia sends her a gift it turns out to be an adult, and strangely intelligent, kangaroo.

    Comic Strips 
  • One of the recurring characters in the comic Pluggers is a flyer named Sheila.
  • The Far Side shows a kangaroo on a street amongst some humans, and one of the humans is dead and has a boomerang in his head, and the kangaroo is thinking, "That was meant for me!" Boomerangs were originally Australian hunting weapons.

    Films — Animation 
  • Not surprisingly, you can find a 'roo in The Rescuers Down Under.
  • ...and in FernGully: The Last Rainforest.
  • A mother kangaroo and her joey appear as background characters in Dumbo.
  • A kind-hearted mother kangaroo was (naturally) a main character in Dot and the Kangaroo. Kangaroos also appeared in a few other films in the series.
  • In Rise of the Guardians, Jack Frost pokes fun at Bunnymund's Australian accent by calling him the Easter Kangaroo. Of course, this is also ironic since rabbits — of which Bunny is a gigantic alien version — are an invasive and highly destructive species in modern Australia.
  • The animated sequel to Kangaroo Jack.
  • Horton Hears a Who! (see below under Literature) has a kangaroo as the main antagonist, and has a Chuck Jones TV adaptation as well as a CGI film from Blue Sky Studios. Averted in both versions; aside from the non-Australian setting (the fictional Jungle of Nool), in neither version does the kangaroo have an Australian accent (the TV version, Jane Kangaroo, actually sounds like a snooty Brit). The CGI version even ignores the obvious "Joey" joke and names the Small Kangaroo "Rudy" instead (probably because there was already a Who named Jojo).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Citizens of the titular town in Welcome to Woop Woop make pet food out of kangaroos, which isn't cool. But then a giant kangaroo god makes an appearance near the end, which is.
  • Crocodile Dundee has a scene where some hooligans are shooting kangaroos for fun. So Mick hides behind one of the dead ones and convinces them that it's shooting back.
    Mick: Good on ya, Skippy!
  • The above might be a Shout-Out (or Take That!) to Wake in Fright, with its notorious (unstaged) kangaroo hunting sequence.
  • Kangaroo Jack is all about the attempts to capture a kangaroo that's carrying $50,000 in mob money. (It Makes Sense in Context.)
  • A 1952 Hollywood film called Kangaroo The Australian Story augments its banal bushranger story with plenty of wildlife footage, including (you guessed it) kangaroos. It's claimed that an early draft of the script showed roving herds of kangaroos murdering people... until Australian crew members informed the director how ridiculous that was.
  • A direct-to-DVD movie called Joey features a boy trying to help the baby kangaroo find its mom in.
  • In Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, a kangaroo (along with a crocodile) is one of the animals Ben has hired for Alexander's Australian-themed birthday party. However, the kangaroo escapes and Ben has to chase it along a suburban street, getting punched in the face by the roo in the process.

    Literature 
  • Averted in Horton Hears a Who!: Sour Kangaroo is the villain (backed up by "the small kangaroo in her pouch"), but the setting is the fictional Jungle of Nool and there's nothing particularly Australian about them except their species. A similar kangaroo heckles Horton in the earlier book Horton Hatches the Egg (though the Merrie Melodies adaptation gives it a (curiously masculine sounding) Australian voice).
  • Kanga and Roo from Winnie-the-Pooh. Kanga is the mother and Roo is her son. However, their Australian connection is never referenced except for some audiobook narrations. The Disney adaptations usually avert this as well, as Kanga and Roo consistently have American accents, though some cartoons show they have a map of Australia on the wall of their house as a background gag.
  • Scrappy is a magical kangaroo character (and Shout-Out to Skippy) in the Discworld book The Last Continent. Actually, he's a magpie called, or at least described as 'trickster', the Kangaroo thing is just his normal early avatar (he also uses a pony and a sheep, pandering to other well-known aussie works). There's also a brand of beer called 'Roo Beer'. According to Scrappy, the Old Man Who Carries the Universe in a Sack goes around adding new continents to different worlds, and putting kangaroos on them is his signature
  • The Spellsinger novel Day of the Dissonance has a kangaroo called Snooth who runs a magic shop. And a powerful and terrible kangaroo djinn she keeps in her pouch.
  • Animorphs had The Unexpected, which landed Cassie in Australia. Cue the kangaroo morph.
  • In "The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo" from Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, Kangaroo pleads with the gods to make him different from other animals, so Nqong sics Yellow-Dog Dingo on him until he starts hopping all over Australia.
  • The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution takes an absurd twist to this trope: being a work of Speculative Biology exploring an alternate timeline where the dinosaurs never became extinct and continued to evolve, it has spec-Australia be populated by the Gwanna, an Iguanodon descendant that hops like a kangaroo. Along with the Tubb, an arboreal herbivore dinosaur that is nearly exactly just a koala, it is heavily criticized for having koala-saurs and kanga-saurs evolving in, of all places, Australia, as if the very topography of Australia inevitably forces the evolution of kangaroo-like animals because Australia is Just Like That.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game Shows: Virtually ever game show that has offered a trip to Australia as a prize has, on its graphic, has included a picture of a kangaroo somewhere in the artwork. On the game show Press Your Luck, it was the only graphic (along with the word "Australia" beneath it). On shows where filmed/video footage is used to illustrate the trip (during the announcer's voiceover), stock footage of kangaroos will invariably be used.
  • Skippy the Bush Kangaroo - Skippy is built entirely on this trope.
  • When The BBC launched BBC2 TV in 1964, the channel's stationery was headed by a cartoon of a mother and baby kangaroo. For no good reason, the mother was called Hullabaloo and the baby was called Custard. A few months later when David Attenborough took over as controller of BBC 2, one of his first acts was to ditch Hullabaloo and Custard for being totally ridiculous.
  • Goodness Gracious Me averts this with "Skipinder the Punjabi Kangaroo", which was a Gag Dub of Skippy.
  • Whazzat Kangaroo from Zoobilee Zoo. She's a cool kangaroo in her own right, and boy, can she sing!
  • One episode of Modern Family has the family vacationing in Australia. Naturally, Phil gets a kangaroo punch to the face.
  • Kangaroos are featured prominently in the 2016 wildlife docuseries Wild Australia With Ray Mears. Ray watches some Eastern grey kangaroos in the bush, spots a rare tree-kangaroo in a Queensland forest, then visits a red kangaroo sanctuary in the desert. The sanctuary staff sometimes carry orphaned joeys around in pillowcases because this reminds them of their mother's pouch and therefore calms them. The sanctuary's founder lets Ray hold one of the joeys for a little while.
  • The opening credits of Whiplash feature multiple shots of mobs of kangaroos, presumably to inform the American and British audiences that the show is set in Australia. They often appear in the individual episodes as well.

    Music 
  • Steely Dan's song "Black Friday" has the narrator escaping to Australia, where he has "Nothing to do but feed all the Kangaroos".

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Outback Jack, who used a northern Australian bushman (he actually was from Australia) used the theme, "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport."

    Tabletop Games 
  • In BattleTech there is an animal named the Coventry Kangaroo. According to information on it the Australian colonists to Coventry took Red Kangaroos with them and genetically modified them to be larger. So large one can use them as mounts for Cavalry troopers.

    Toys 
  • Squishmallows: Keely the Kangaroo's favorite place to visit is stated to be the Sydney Opera House.

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing has two kangaroos named Walt and Mathilda after the famous Australian song "Waltzing Matilda". However, koalas are more associated with Australian stereotypes.
  • Rising Storm 2: Vietnam: the Australian Army is represented with a kangaroo logo, in contrast to the US Forces' eagle emblem and the ARVN's tiger symbol.
  • Although the Bomberman series features the kangaroo-esque roois/ruis/Looeys/Louies, there's nothing really Australian about them. The Fan Game Power Bomberman, however, features a brand new one called Buckarooi, who wears a slouch hat and whose main ability is throwing a boomerang, both common Land Down Under stereotypes.

    Webcomics 
  • The two main characters in Boomer Express, plus plenty of supporting characters as well.
  • An Enforced Trope for Bruce and Roosevelt in Housepets!. As zoo animals, they're expected to represent (the US idea of) Australia, and they hate it.
    Roosevelt: Every single word feels like throwing up.
    Bruce: "Shrimp on the barbie?" We're herbivores.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The earlier Looney Tunes short, "Hop and Go" has a bungling kangaroo, Claude Hopper, heckled by a pair of rabbits after he boosts to be the champion hopper. While the Scottish rabbits are Funny Foreigners voiced by Mel Blanc, the blatantly non-Australian Claude is voiced by Pinto Colvig in his Goofy voice.
  • Similarly, a Pixie & Dixie cartoon had Mr. Jinks encounter a boxing kangaroo.
  • And in the Saturday Supercade videogame-cartoon series, there's Katy and Joey in Kangaroo, who, like Kanga and Roo in the above example, have American accents.
  • A kangaroo can be seen adopting a frog in The Simpsons episode "Bart vs Australia", where Bart is forced to go to Australia to have his butt kicked for prank-calling them. When pursued, Bart and Homer attempt to get away in kangaroos' pouches, only to find that, unlike in cartoons, they're filled with disgusting slime.
  • Skippy: Adventures in Bushtown, an Animated Adaptation of the aforementioned Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. It takes place in a World of Funny Animals, and the two main heroes (Skippy and his girlfriend Matilda) are Funny Animal versions of kangaroos.
  • Blinky Bill has Splodge and his family, as well as Nurse Angelina.
  • Now disgraced artist and childrens' entertainer (Australian born) Rolf Harris, when doing a series for British TV explaining how animation works and using classic cartoons as examples, devised an Author Avatar animated character called the Rolferoo - a sort of kangaroo-centaur that was a caricatured Harris from the waist up.
  • Averted in the T.U.F.F. Puppy episode "Mom's Away". A kangaroo mom (with her joey in her pouch) appears briefly, but she doesn't have an Australian accent.note 
  • The Tales of the Wizard of Oz episode "Boomer Rang" features the titular Boxing Kangaroo, who speaks with a heavy Australian accent.

    Real Life 
  • There's a widespread meme about there being no kangaroos in Austria, due to the similar names of Austria and Australia. Austria even has a popular souvenir T-shirt, saying "No Kangaroos In Austria".
    • Ironically, one escaped from a zoo in Austria and was seen bounding its way along the meadows of the similarly-named but far-away nation. Needless to say, the incident quickly went memetic.
  • Australian airline Qantas uses a kangaroo in its logo, and is often referred to as the "flying kangaroo."
  • The mascot for the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, is a kangaroo named Zippy of Ambiguous Gender. However, the school nickname is Zips.
  • The University of Missouri-Kansas City also uses a kangaroo mascot for its sports teams. The teams started out as the Kansas City Kangaroos, became the UMKC Kangaroos when the school joined the University of Missouri system in 1963, and then rebranded as the Kansas City Roos in 2019 (although the university name didn't change).
  • The mascot for the Brockton Rox minor league baseball team in Brockton, Massachusetts, is K-O the Kangaroo.
  • Several of Australia's national sports teams have kangaroo-themed names:
    • Kangaroos (Rugby League)
    • Wallabies (Rugby Union)
    • Boomers (Men's basketball - a male kangaroo is called a "boomer")
    • Socceroos (Soccer)
    • Hockeyroos (Women's hockey)
  • The North Melbourne Kangaroos in Australian Rules Football
  • A kangaroo is used in the center of the roundel on the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) ensign, and is used as the Army's roundel as well.
  • During The Korean War, the XO of a Royal Australian Navy destroyer, sick of being mistaken for British (with his British-designed ship flying the British naval ensign - the RAN wouldn't get a unique flag for another decadenote ), got the biggest sheet of brass he could find, cut a kangaroo silhouette out of it, and stuck it to the top of the ship as a weathervane. Nowdays, all major RAN warships have a red kangaroo icon fitted somewhere visible on the ship. Usually on the side of a funnel, but other locations are used if a ship's funnels aren't particularly prominent.note 
  • The kangaroo is Australia's national faunal emblem and appears (with the emu) on the national coat of arms These animals were chosen because neither species can travel backwards! This is meant to symbolize the ideal for Australians to always think and move forward.
  • Perhaps not surprisingly, the most iconic of Australia's extinct Pleistocene megafauna is the 2-meter tall kangaroo Procoptodon goliah.
  • Averted with the mascots for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games - a kookaburra, an echidna, and a platypus. The organizers felt that kangaroos and koalas were overused.
  • The Navajo word for Australia translates as "Land of the Kangaroos".note 

Alternative Title(s): Everythings Better With Kangaroos

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