SYDNEY (Reuters) - A startled kangaroo knocked an Australian politician to the ground and clawed his leg after its morning graze on a suburban lawn was interrupted by the jogging lawmaker.
The eastern grey kangaroo was grazing on the front yard of a house a short distance from Australia's national parliament in Canberra when Greens politician and keen triathlete Shane Rattenbury surprised the munching marsupial.
In trying to flee, the 1.4 meter (4.5 feet) tall kangaroo clawed the back of Rattenbury's left leg and knocked him to the ground as it hopped away.
"When they're startled, they tend to take a defensive approach, jumping around and striking out with their claws," Rattenbury told Reuters.
"Unfortunately I was in the way and the kangaroo struck me."
Kangaroos hit out with their sharp claws if they feel threatened and in the past were made to wear boxing gloves by some travelling carnivals to fight patrons.
A "Boxing Kangaroo" flag was the emblem for Australia's winning yacht in the 1983 America's Cup.
Canberra, known as Australia's "bush capital", is home to thousands of wild kangaroos which often venture into suburban streets to graze on lawns, particularly during times of drought.
Reporting by Michael Sin; Editing by Elaine Lies, James Grubel and Michael Perry