Finals Week 1 – Richmond v North Melbourne preview: Do Tigers eat kangaroo?

Several years ago I had patted an old tiger called Mohan at Dreamworld.  Mohan was chained by the neck to a platform so he couldn’t kill me.  A white Bengal tiger, he was huge.  And he stunk worse than a wet, feral dog.


Mohan was 15-years-old when I touched him.   Two years later he died.


His handler, Patrick Martin-Vegue said tigers kept in captivity lived between 15 and 20 years.


‘It’s their diet that kills them,’ he said after I had put my hands on Mohan.  ‘They only eat red meat and in the end it affects their liver.’


Mohan, as a lot of us do, ate himself to death.


I sniffed my hands.  They stunk.  I’ve never smelt anything like it.  It was like smelling meat gone off.  I asked the handler if Mohan was given kangaroo meat, which is low in fat.  He shook his head.


Tigers don’t eat kangaroo in captivity.  And given Australia’s dearth of free ranging tigers, they don’t naturally eat kangaroo.  It doesn’t mean they wouldn’t if they could.


On paper, a game between a tiger and a kangaroo is a complete mismatch.  Kangaroos look like a Tyrannosaurus Rex but they are a lot smaller and don’t eat meat.  Kangaroos are the only large animal that hop for movement instead of run.  They have powerful leg muscles and their tails slap the ground for balance.


Kangaroos can hop quickly too.  While cruising, they reach about 25 kilometres an hour.  When startled, they can hop at 70 kilometres in short bursts.  When pressed, they can hop at 45 kilometre over a distance of two kilometres.


Some species of tigers are the biggest cats in the world.  Mohan was big, about three metres in length.  He weighed about 300 kilograms.  At his peak, he could run about 60 kilometres an hour over short distances.


In the wild, Mohan would’ve hunted goat, pigs, water buffalo and deer.  He was built to kill big animals, usually by ambushing them, knocking them over and biting their neck.


Kangaroos, when they’re angry, can only kick and scratch.  They don’t kill for a living.


Tigers sleep during the day and hunt at night.  Kangaroos sleep a lot, day and night.  Tigers would stalk kangaroos and kill them where they lie, or knock them down and go for the throat.  It would be over in seconds.  Then they’d celebrate by eating.


Mismatch, on paper.


No one has ever put a tiger and a kangaroo on the same paddock just to see what happens.


On Sunday, the Tigers and the Kangaroos will be in the same paddock.  Kangaroos eat grass.  Tigers eat meat.


Maybe the mismatch on paper won’t matter.  North and Richmond haven’t exactly been great rivals in finals.  Since Richmond defeated North in the 1974 grand final, the clubs have played just three finals.


North won the 1975 preliminary final by 17 points.  North won the 1977 semi-final by 47 points.  And North won the 1995 qualifying final by 30 points.


The point is, Richmond hasn’t defeated North in a final in 41-years, and carnivores or not, they don’t seem to like kangaroo meat.


And let’s not forget, Richmond still hasn’t recovered from losing the 1982 grand final to Carlton.  In the ensuing decades, they haven’t been fond of winning finals.


So North, as a collective mob of rested roos from the top paddock, should be able to bound away from the Tigers who are hungry for meat.


Like Mohan when I patted him, the Tigers seem chained by the neck to a platform that won’t let them go for the neck.


And tigers don’t eat kangaroo.


About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…

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