FOUNTAINTOWN, Ind. - A 6-foot-tall kangaroo that surprised residents as it bounded through rural central Indiana during the weekend died Monday after authorities used a tranquilizer dart to capture it.
Hancock County Animal Control officers helped capture the Australian marsupial, an escaped pet named Skippy, early Monday not far from its home.
The cause of Skippy's death was not known, said Kenny McConahay, an officer with the Greenfield/Hancock County Animal Control Department.
It was not known what the kangaroo had done or eaten during its weekend of freedom, and the amount of tranquilizer used in the dart was only half of the recommended dose, McConahay said.
"When our officer left the scene, it was still alive and coming out (of sedation). It was recovering," McConahay said.
Skippy's owners, David and Sue Schutt, did not answer calls seeking comment.
Skippy got loose Friday when two teenage girls opened his cage.
"I left the gate open and the lights on for him … thinking he would come back," said Sue Schutt, whose property is near Fountaintown, about 15 miles east of Indianapolis.
Neighbor Jim Greider saw the kangaroo Friday night and thought it was a huge rabbit. His family and guests went out to watch the animal hop down the road in front of his house and a few motorists swerved to avoid it.
"I didn't even know my neighbor had a kangaroo," said Greider, 53.
Indiana does not require a permit to keep kangaroos, said Dean Shadley, a wildlife conservation officer with the state Department of Natural Resources.
"I can't imagine there are very many kangaroos in Indiana," said Shadley. "I've worked here for 33 years, and this is the first I've heard of one."