How Bella The Pet Kangaroo Alerted Her Owner To Skin Cancer By Licking And Sniffing At Worrying Marks On Her Face

Of all the kangaroos who live at Josephine’s Kangaroo Orphanage in Coober Pedy, Bella is by far the most affectionate.


But when Josephine Brennan-Kuss noticed the big red licking and nuzzling certain spots on her body, she didn’t realise the six-year-old was trying to get a message across.

‘I’d been meaning to get them checked for ages, and I just kept forgetting,’ Josephine told the MailOnline, talking about some small lesions which she had come across a month or so earlier.

Josephine Brennan-Kuss had her life saved by her kangaroo Bella after she sniffed out cancerous spots on her face and body.

‘She concentrated on these spots, one on my hand, one on my foot and one on my face.

‘She was on a mission to tell me something.’

When Josephine finally took notice of Bella, saw a doctor and got the spots checked out, she couldn’t believe what the kangaroo had alerted her to.

She had three cancerous spots removed from the places on her body Bella had been paying attention to, and an additional spot biopsied on her face.


Bella, a six-year-old red kangaroo, paid special attention to spots on Josephine’s face and body which led to her having them checked out and removed

The 63-year-old was lucky to catch the Basel cell carcinomas when she did, left any longer and they could have turned much nastier.

‘They’re non-aggressive but still need to be removed. They start eating your flesh away if you leave them,’ Josephine revealed.

The 63-year-old had one spot removed and another biopsied on her face, and will undergo surgery in July to completely remove all the cancers

‘I’ve heard of people who had one on their ear and had to have half their ear removed.’

Though she still needs to undergo surgery in July to completely remove the lesions, the wildlife carer is amazed that Bella, who has been at her and husband Terry’s orphanage since she was a joey, was able to detect the cancer.

‘We’re still in awe ourselves – because if it hadn’t been for Bella I wouldn’t have got it checked out.’

However, this is not the first time Bella has saved a life.

Three and a half years ago, Terry had a series of strokes. During that time Josephine said Bella, who is normally a ‘mummy’s girl’, paid more attention than usual to her husband.

Big red kangaroos are the most common species in the Coober Pedy area, where Josephine and Terry run their own art gallery and wildlife orphanage.

‘They’re big sooks, they’re very affectionate, very calm, such a lovely temperament,’ Josephine revealed.

‘[But] prior to him having the strokes we noticed that Bella was paying him so much attention, was being a real daddy’s girl.

‘She was licking his arm, lay down next to him. But we didn’t put two and two together.

The kangaroo orphanage mostly takes in joeys whose mothers have been hunted or died in road accidents

As it turned out, Terry was very unwell and Bella had sensed a small stroke which was then followed by a larger one.

‘Some people who suffer from epilepsy have dogs that alert them when they’re going to have a seizure, maybe it’s like that,’ Josephine said.

‘I don’t even know that they smell it, I think that they sense.’

Speaking of Bella’s discovery, the wildlife lover admitted that her and Terry would certainly be paying greater attention to the kangaroo’s intuition from now on.

‘We’ll probably be walking on eggshells every time one of them gives us a kiss or cuddle,’ she joked.

‘Bella’s living up to her name – she is certainly beautiful.’

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