Tourists warned not to feed kangaroos McDonald's, fast food after series of brutal attacks

Tourists have been warned against feeding the wildlife in Australia after an increase in kangaroo attacks have left guests with gory gashes.

Officials have said the attacks occurred while tourists attempted to feed the native animals junk food like corn chips and McDonald’s

“There have been a number of reported incidents in which kangaroos have attacked visitors, in one case causing a very deep gash to a man’s stomach,” the local MP, Greg Piper, told NSW parliament on Tuesday.

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One official said most of the attacks cause lacerations or significant scratching.  (Facebook/Kroosn Shuttle Service Pty Ltd)

“In most cases they have been kicking out, clawing faces and grappling with people, causing lacerations or significant scratching … Recently one attacked a man, who required 17 stitches in his face,” Piper continued.

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The attacks have been happening on the grounds of Morisset hospital, a psychiatric hospital and a popular tourist site near Lake Macquarie, where travel websites send people to see wild kangaroos for free.

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The attacks have been reported after people try to feed the animals junk food.  (Facebook/Kroosn Shuttle Service Pty Ltd)

Shane Lewis, a local tour bus operator, estimated there are about 2,000 visitors to the location per week, The Guardian reported. Lewis told the publication the kangaroos have learned to associate tourists with food.

“You can rustle a chip packet and they know what’s in there,” he said. “That makes them aggressive.

Piper said when he visited the site, he saw tourists holding out apples, bananas, corn chips and other processed foods to the wild animals, The Guardian reported. Kangaroos typically graze on grasses.

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A nutritionist for a zoo in Australia said disrupting a kangaroo's diet can result in aggression and health problems.  (Facebook/Kroosn Shuttle Service Pty Ltd)

Disrupting the kangaroo’s natural diet can cause health problems, such as stomach ulcers, and cause aggression, according to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

“Another problem is research has shown animals can become quite addicted to sugar,” Michelle Shaw, nutritionist at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo told The Guardian. “They are going to seek it out regardless of whether it is going to be good for them or not, so they can become quite aggressive.”

“The dangers are, you wouldn’t go near a dog when it’s eating its dinner, but people let their children go over, and I’ve seen kangaroos lash out thinking the kids going to take their food when they’re just coming to pat them,” Lewis said to The Guardian.

“We try to scare them into not being naive and thinking they’re cute and cuddly by showing them the photos [of injuries caused by kangaroos], what can happen, and not to give them any food,” he added.

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One officials hopes the state will place more warning signs advising visitors not to feed the wildlife.  (Facebook/Kroosn Shuttle Service Pty Ltd)

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Though Piper admits it’s impossible to keep tourists from visiting the area, he wants the state’s national parks department and health department, which owns the hospital grounds, to install more warning signs reminding people to not feed the wild animals, The Guardian reported.

Alexandra Deabler is a Lifestyle writer and editor for Fox News.