Girl attacked by kangaroo at drive-thru zoo as mom records encounter

A kangaroo is pictured at the Hangzhou Zoo in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China.
caption arrowCaption
A kangaroo is pictured at the Hangzhou Zoo in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China.

Credit: VCG via Getty Images

Credit: VCG via Getty Images

A 9-year-old Alabama girl’s terrified screams were captured by a cellphone video her mother was shooting when a kangaroo at a drive-thru zoo violently grabbed the girl and began biting her this weekend.

Jennifer White decided to surprise her daughters, ages 9 and 3, on Saturday by taking them to one of their favorite places, Harmony Park Safari, nestled in the New Hope community just south of Huntsville. White told WAFF in Huntsville that the family had been to the zoo multiple times, but had never seen the kangaroos before.

"You blame yourself sometimes, like, you know, 'Why did I take her to the park that day?'" a tearful White told the news station. "'Why did I take her to see the kangaroo?'"

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The kangaroo enclosure is in a part of the park in which visitors can get out of their vehicles and walk around to see the animals. The video White recorded showed a kangaroo inside an enclosure with openings large enough for the animals to reach arms and heads through -- and for visitors to do likewise.

White said the encounter began innocently enough, with the kangaroo mirroring her daughter’s movements as she walked back and forth outside the enclosure.

"I thought it was playing," Cheyenne told WAFF.

The video showed Cheyenne’s 3-year-old sister reach into the enclosure, followed a moment later by Cheyenne, who approached the fence for a closer look at the animal, but kept her hands to herself.

The kangaroo suddenly reached through the fence and violently grabbed her by her hair. She screamed in terror as he attacked, biting her head.

Cheyenne, who White rushed from the park for medical attention, now has 14 stitches in her head.

"I'm just glad that it got me instead of my baby sister, because it would have hurt her even worse," the freckle-faced girl told the news station.

ExploreClick here to see the video of the kangaroo attack. Warning: The footage may be difficult to watch.

WAFF reported that safari owners declined to comment on the incident, but pointed to a sign posted at the entrance to the kangaroo trail that details a state law saying people take their own risks when visiting an agri-tourism venue.

Wooden plaques are also posted at the kangaroo enclosure that say, “I bite.”

White said she was speaking out not to keep other families from visiting the zoo, where her own family had so many good times, but to warn of the potential danger in getting too close to the animals.

“I don’t want it to happen to someone else’s kid, because they may not be as fortunate as my daughter was,” White said, voice trembling with tears.

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