Can You Own A Pet Kangaroo or Wallaby? Is It legal?

Kangaroo/Wallabies are unique and interesting animals and quite popular among pet enthusiasts. But are they worth domestication?

Owning a Pet Kangaroo/ Wallaby depends on whether the animal is legal in your state or not. To my surprise, Kangaroos are illegal to own in many States and countries. Contrary to popular belief, very few states and countries allow keeping these jumping animals as pets. Why? Well, majorly because not everyone can provide Kangaroos with enough space and a healthy lifestyle. They might appear as an interesting Pouch mammals who can survive in your backyard, but in reality, they can’t. Before allowing the permit to own a pet Kangaroo/ Wallaby, authorities make any individual go through a lot of processes. Here’s more about it.

Kangaroo/ Wallaby: Where Do they come from?

Kangaroo is a Marsupial Mammal indigenous to Australia and New Guinea. One can identify them with their strong back legs, large feet, short fur, long, pointy ears, and muscular tails. However, the most common identification of Kangaroos (female) is the pouches where the young lives until they grow enough to emerge. 

Whereas on the other hand, a Wallaby is a middle-sized marsupial mammal that belongs to the Kangaroo family. They, too, are native to Australia and New Guinea but also found in the United Kingdom, Hawaii, New Zealand, and other countries.

Both Kangaroos and Wallabies belong to the same taxonomic family (Macropodidae) and the same genus, but the former is categorized into the four largest of the family. Kangaroos are huge, whereas Wallabies are their miniature version. Due to similarity in appearance, both of these mammals are often confused. 

History and Evolution of Kangaroo/ Wallaby:

According to research, Kangaroos evolved nearly 15 million years ago between South America and Antarctica, which is now Australia. As per scientific reports, their ancestors were tree-dwelling opossum-like creatures.

Of several species, some went extinct, and today around 250 species of marsupial live in Australia. Out of them, currently, 50 species of kangaroos are thriving in the Australian region. 

Can You Own A Pet Kangaroo or Wallaby

Kangaroo/ Wallaby Species Overview

NameKangarooWallaby
Other NamesRoos, Bucks, Jacks,
Boomers, Jills, Flyers, Wallaby
Roos, Bucks, Jacks,
Boomers, Jills, Flyers, Kangaroo
Scientific NamesMacropodidaeMacropus
KingdomAnimaliaAnimalia
PhylumChordataChordata
ClassMammaliaMammalia
InfraclassMarsupialia
OrderDiprotodontiaDiprotodontia
FamilyMacropodidaeMacropodidae
GenusMacropusMacropus
SuborderMacropodiformes
Conservation StatusNot extinctBlack Forest Wallaby (Critically Endangered)
Proserpine Rock-wallaby (Endangered)
Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby (Threatened)
Mala (Rufous Hare Wallaby or Warrup)
Bridled Nail-tail Wallaby (Near to Extinction)
SizeHeight: 3 to 8 feet
Weight: 40 to 200 lbs
Height: Up to 36 inches
Weight: 30 to 40 lbs
LifespanUp to 8 years in the wild
Up to 25 years in captivity
12 to 15 years

Does Kangaroo/ Wallaby Make Good Pets?

Given the challenges of their domestication, Kangaroo/ Wallaby doesn’t make the best pets. Since both are wild animals, their growth and temperament in captivity depend majorly on their instinct.

One can never enjoy pet and owner time with a Kangaroo/ Wallaby similar to that with dogs and cats. The stress in captivity can also lead the poor animals to suffer from bad health and even death sometimes. They aren’t the right pets for everyone, and thus we discourage their domestication.

Is It Legal To Keep Kangaroo/ Wallaby As A Pet?

Is Kangaroo/ Wallaby legal to own in Australia? It is legal to keep Kangaroo/ Wallaby in some places, whereas illegal and offensive in others. Despite being native to Australia, they aren’t any popular exotic pets to own in the Country.

While Kangaroo/ Wallaby are legal as pets in Victoria, they are a protected species in Northern Territories. In major cities of Australia, it is illegal to possess, buy or sell a Kangaroo.

However, due to their growing population, Australian authorities permit license holders to shoot or hunt Kangaroos/ Wallabies. As a result, every year, about 3 million adult kangaroos are killed in Australia, and the last two decades have seen the lawful killing of 90 million kangaroos and wallabies.

However, Kangaroo/ Wallaby killing in Australia is limited to certain regions and under license only. 

Are Kangaroos/ Wallabies legal in the U.S.?

Kangaroos are surprisingly legal and popular as pets in several U.S. States. While laws for keeping exotic animals are quite strict in the United States, they may differ from region to region. Also, even when a State allows any animal as a pet, any city or municipality can ban its possession.

USA State List where Kangaroos are legal as pets:

Legal with Permit

  1. Washington
  2. Idaho
  3. Nevada
  4. New Mexico
  5. Texas
  6. Illinois
  7. Ohio
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. Maine
  10. New Jersey.

Legal without Permit:

  1. Wisconsin
  2. West Virginia
  3. South Carolina

NOTE: Besides the above 13 U.S. States, Kangaroos are illegal as pets in the entire Country. 

Whereas Wallabies are illegal in most of the U.S. States except for a few handfuls. For instance, residents of Colorado can keep them as pets with the proper permits. The State, though, facilitates them as pets, but the rules in cities and municipalities may differ.

The permit for keeping Wallabies in the U.S. does not allow taking the pet outside the given residence. Owners can neither move the pet nor can they get a pet-sitter. 

More about keeping a Kangaroo/ Wallaby as a pet

Kangaroo/ Wallaby Housing Needs

Kangaroos and Wallabies aren’t the best pets for someone who has limited outdoor space. These pouch mammals cover miles in the wild daily, and thus they need a lot of space in captivity as well. 

For Housing a Kangaroo/ Wallaby, consider 1/4th acres or at least half. Add high fencing, which is also robust enough not to break. Also, add a natural ground substrate that must contain year-round grass.

Kangaroo/ Wallaby Temperature and Humidity Needs

Both Kangaroo/ Wallaby are quite adaptive to different temperature conditions. They do well in both hot and cold weather, given nothing is too extreme. 

Kangaroo/ Wallaby Dietary Needs

Kangaroo/ Wallaby are both herbivorous, and they feed on a variety of food items. While their staple food is natural grass, they would also enjoy timothy hay, sweetgrass, orchard grass, a few fresh green vegetables, and apples occasionally. Wallabies, though, have a limited diet, but Kangaroos given their size will eat a lot.

Kangaroo/ Wallaby Cleaning Needs

Kangaroo/ Wallaby, both being wild animals, does not require regular bathing or grooming. They can lick and clean themselves to maintain hygiene and sanity. However, for some added help, you can add an aquatic feature into their enclosure. This will help the pet have a quick bath.

Common Health Problems with Kangaroo/ Wallaby

Some common health problems that Kangaroos and Wallabies suffer from include vitamin E and selenium deficiencies. Other than that, ringworm (a fungal skin infection) and salmonellosis too can easily hit them.

NOTE: Before bringing home, a pet Kangaroo or Wallaby, check for a Vet around. It is less likely to find a Vet who is willing and able to treat these wild pouch mammals. Only a few of them can; however, those Vets are slightly tricky to find. Also, since it isn’t very easy to take around a sick Kangaroo/ Wallaby, look for a vet who can visit your place.

How Much Does a Kangaroo/ Wallaby Cost?

The purchasing cost of a Kangaroo or Wallaby would range between $800 to $4000. While Kangaroos might be available easily, finding a Wallaby can prove slightly tough.

Where To Buy a Kangaroo/ Wallaby?

Where To Find a Kangaroo/ Wallaby Breeder? Kangaroo/ Wallaby being protected wildlife are less likely to be there in your local pet store. For getting your hand on them, either find a USDA-licensed breeder, a Ranch, or an Adoption Centre/ Shelter.

You may easily find a Kangaroo/ Wallaby breeder in the States where these animals are legal. Or contact the following websites:

https://www.dragonstoneranch.com/kangaroos

https://www.exoticanimalsforsale.net/wallabies-for-sale.asp

Advantages and Disadvantages of owning a Kangaroo/ Wallaby

List of Advantages

  • If kept well, both Kangaroo and Wallaby will prove friendly and social.
  • Both the pouch mammals are easy to train.
  • They are very gentle and less likely to harm other animals and humans around.
  • They are affectionate and can create a strong bond with their owner. 
  • Feeding them is easy and less expensive than many other exotic pets.

List of Disadvanatges

  • They can get really large and, therefore, slightly difficult to manage as pets.
  • They are mischievous, which might lead to property damage quite often. 
  • Housing a Kangaroo requires significant space. 
  • None of them can be confined to cages and small enclosures. 
  • They can prove very expensive to purchase and look after.

Kangaroo/ Wallaby Facts for Kids

  1. Wallabies are Kangaroos’ smaller cousins.
  2. Kangaroos are generally docile and very less likely to attack.
  3. They cough, growl, and bark to communicate.
  4. Kangaroos can’t walk backward though they can swim.
  5. Kangaroos can move their legs independently in water but not on land.
  6. Baby Wallabies are extremely small. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do wallabies bite?

Wallabies, though, generally won’t bite, but in case they are threatened or want something from your, they might scratch or bite lightly. However, with the intention of attack, these mammals would never bite.

Can you potty train a Kangaroo/ Wallaby?

Yes, it is easy to paper train or house train a Kangaroo/ Wallaby. Despite being wild, these mammals are easy to tame and train.

Do kangaroos like humans?

Kangaroos aren’t very vocal towards humans, but if kept as a pet, they might start building affection with their owner. However, male Kangaroos are less likely to be friendly and can even attack humans.

Wrapping up…

Can you have Kangaroos/ Wallabies as pets? If it is legal in your State, you can keep Kangaroos/ Wallabies as pets. However, we do not encourage the same and would advise you to go for a domestic animal instead.

Both Kangaroos and Wallabies are wild animals who can get stressed in captivity. They are better off at Zoos, Breeding centers, and places like farms and ranches. Keeping them in confined spaces amongst urban settlements isn’t humane and ethical.