(CNN) — A woman in Australia needed 25 stitches to her face and almost lost an eye after being mauled by a kangaroo while walking her dog.
The attack happened near a popular walking trail in the city of Wodonga, in the state of Victoria, according to CNN affiliate 9News. Dina, who declined to share her last name, let her pet dog off its leash and it began chasing a large male kangaroo — prompting her to try to intervene.
“I ran up the embankment to try and get my dog away but not realizing that I was only three or four meters behind the roo,” Dina told 9News. “And that’s when I sensed the roo was panicking, and thinking, ‘I’m being attacked on all sides.'”
She turned around right as the kangaroo attacked her from behind, knocking her to the ground.
“He gouged out the back of my leg, I know now if I hadn’t turned around, I would probably have been disemboweled,” she told 9News.
The kangaroo began “pounding” and jumping on her, she said. She played dead, and told herself to “just wait until it is over.”
It eventually worked, and the kangaroo left her with blood gushing from her head, according to CNN affiliate 7News. Passerby then helped her tend to her wounds and took her to the hospital.
Dina needed 25 stitches to her face, and said she was just grateful her eye hadn’t been gouged out. She had to undergo surgery for her leg wounds, and was later released from the hospital. She still has scratches and cuts all over her back and arms.
Dina added that she didn’t blame the kangaroo because her dog had chased it, causing the attack.
It was “absolutely not” the kangaroo’s fault, she said — “if anything, we’re encroaching on their ecology. I could sense his panic. I really felt for him, the poor thing.”
Wildlife staff and city authorities said kangaroos are likely venturing closer to human residential areas because of lack of food and water in the hot, dry summer, according to 9News.