NU Online News Service, Aug. 12, 12:44 p.m.EDT

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Australian auto insurers this week reported that kangaroos aremostly responsible for 20 or more animal-vehicle collisions aday.

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The data comes from auto carriers NRMA and SGIO. Besideskangaroos, NRMA said among other marsupial bangups, it registersclaims for wombat damage.

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In the Sidney area, NRMA said animal claims--particularlyinvolving kangaroos--are the cause of around 23 collisions aday.

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There are 47 varieties of kangaroo, and the largest can grow upto six feet tall and weigh 300 pounds, according to the Koalaexpress Web site, which said they can travel up to 40 miles perhour.

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SGIO said it averages 30 kangaroo claims a week, which onaverage cost nearly 4,000 Australian dollars ($3,325 at currentexchange rates).

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Last year, NRMA said it received claims for more than 8,000animal-related collisions in New South Wales, with around threequarters caused by kangaroos.

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NRMA Insurance Head of Research Robert McDonald said in astatement that kangaroo collisions on country roads are asignificant problem that peaks during winter.

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"Unfortunately, at this time of year, many kangaroos are activeon our roads. They are often looking for food at sunrise andsunset, and it's during this time that an increased number ofcollisions occur," explained Mr. McDonald.

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He said how drivers react after seeing a kangaroo canpotentially save lives. "If you see a kangaroo on or near the road,you should try and brake, but not swerve to avoid a collision," headvised. "If you hit the animal and safety permits, the drivershould also try to help it and move it to the side of the road toprevent further crashes."

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Besides farm animals as well as cats and dogs, SGIO has alsorecorded collisions with emus.

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