Mississippi officials warn of runaway kangaroo

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GUNTOWN, Miss. — The search continues for a kangaroo on the loose in Lee County, Mississippi, after it escaped its Guntown home.

There's been one reported sighting, but the marsupial remains elusive and could be dangerous.

"It came out of the woods over there, and it hopped up to the road," said Marsha Carrol, a security guard at a furniture warehouse in Saltillo, Mississippi. "Then a car or something spooked it."

Carrol said one of her coworkers spotted the elusive kangaroo a few days ago across the road from the warehouse, more than eight miles from where it was reported missing in Guntown.

"They looked around here, I don't know, for a couple of hours, and they couldn't find it," Carrol said.

The 4-year-old female kangaroo has managed to elude capture for almost two weeks.

The marsupial is owned by John Johnson, who operates the G&J Traveling Petting Zoo.

Johnson told WREG he is licensed by the USDA to own the kangaroo, which is one of five in his petting zoo. He would not go on camera, but Johnson said the kangaroo escaped a few days after he purchased it and brought it home.

Since then, Johnson said he's been scouring this part of Lee County in search of the kangaroo.

Johnson described the kangaroo as shy, but not real friendly, a reason why the female was not yet part of the petting zoo.

Officials said there's no reason to believe the kangaroo poses any health threat.

"As far as I'm aware, there are no diseases or other issues that kangaroos have that pose a threat to livestock or animals or people in Mississippi," said Dr. Jim Watson, who is on the Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Officials urged the public not to try and corner the animal, but to let a professional handle it.

Meanwhile, Carrol said she is fascinated by the runaway kangaroo and has taken to learning everything she can about the marsupial.

"It travels up to 21 miles per hour, and for short bursts of time it can travel up to 44 miles per hour," she said. "So it could actually go pretty far. But the owner says it doesn't really like the wooded area that much, they head towards flat ground. It's easier for them to travel."

If you spot the kangaroo, you can call Johnson at 662-401-2738.

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