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For the last several years, I have wondered about the people who own the kangaroos on Highway 72, south of Fredericktown. Every time I drive past I can’t help but stop and stare at those crazy roos bouncing around in Missouri. I’ve wondered where they are from, why they are here, and most of all, who are these people who have kangaroos as pets. I just knew they would be interesting people, so one day I pulled my car into their driveway. I asked the young man about the roos, and the stage was set. We’re doing a story about Missouri Kangaroos!

My name is Karyn Brown and I’m from Fredericktown. I am married to Daren, who owns and operates Brown’s Construction. Our son, Taylor, 20, works with Daren full time. Our son Logan, 16, works with them part-time and goes to Fredericktown High School. I am the Customer Service Manager at Black River Electric Cooperative.

After Daren and I got married, our only pet, for several years, was a dog. Daren was raised around farm animals all his life, and I think he missed not having more pets. After our sons were born and got a little older, we thought caring for animals would help us teach them responsibility, as well as the nature of animals. We started off with a cat, some chickens, and a dog. Over the years we have had a variety of animals: goats for clearing the underbrush in the wooded areas around the house; chickens for the eggs; and steers for the meat. Our more unusual animals were just for fun. We have had llamas, a camel, sheep, peacocks, mare mules, donkeys and pet opossums.

A few years ago, Daren was at the local sale barn and a man had a male kangaroo for sale. Daren bought him, and we named him Jesse. Jesse had been raised in a house for several weeks. He was too young to be outside without the warmth of his mother’s pouch so we also kept him in our home until the weather was warm enough to keep him in the barn. He wore a baby diaper and drank from a bottle. He slept in a handmade pouch that we hung in our bedroom. I would get him up with me in the morning and give him a bottle, change his diaper and let him hop around the house until I went to work. When the kids would get home from school, they would feed him a bottle, change his diaper and play. He also got a bath every night, which he did not mind. Eventually, he started on dry food, but still wanted his bottles—just like a human baby.

When Jesse was a few years old, we bought a female kangaroo and named her Jamie. Nature took its course; we ended up with another girl and named her Jingle. We also bought another young roo and named her Jitter.

We did not realize the enjoyment that these animals would bring to the public. Often, people stop along the highway to view our pets and take pictures. It’s becoming a bit of a tourist attraction.

Some of the Kangaroos like the attention and others shy away from the curious gawkers. We are fine with all the visitors as long as they do not get inside the fences. Kangaroos, like any other wild animal, can be dangerous, especially the males. They have three toes on their feet with a large nail on the center toe. When they kick, this nail can cut! An adult kangaroo doesn’t make a good pet, actually. They are great when young, but when older they are better appreciated from afar doing what kangaroos do, bouncing around and being cute, cute, cute!

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