Can You Own A Pet Kangaroo?

No, Kangaroos make terrible pets! If you want to own one (and if it’s legal where you live) you have to be well situated and spend a lot of money on habitat, food and vet care. Read on if you like to know what it would be like to own such an exotic animal.

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Portrait of a kangaroo

Kangaroos are some of the most incredible animals on the planet.

Their jumping ability and little joeys make them iconic. There are actually many different branches of the family tree, including the tree kangaroo, red kangaroo, and mini kangaroo (wallaby). 

As a result, many people wonder whether it’s legal to own one as a house pet.  As a child, I remember desperately wanting to own one, daydreaming about spending our days hopping along together with a secret stash of snacks fully stocked in my pet’s pouch. 

To my great disappointment, my kangaroo dreams were simply wishful thinking. While some areas make it technically legal to own a ‘roo, it’s not as simple as picking out a new puppy from your local animal shelter. 

Is It Legal To Own A Kangaroo?

Before buying a pet kangaroo, you first need to consider whether or not it is legal to own one where you live. 

In the US, there are thirteen states where it is legal to keep a kangaroo as a pet: Illinois, Idaho, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Although it is legal to have a kangaroo as a pet in these states, many require you to get a special permit. These permits can be expensive and complicated to get. They also enforce a broad set of rules that make ownership virtually impossible for the average joe(y). 

The permits dictate how many you can have, where you can keep them, where you can bring them, and whether or not they are allowed to breed under your care. 

You can also theoretically own a kangaroo as a pet in Canada. 

However, strict regulations may make it all but impossible to have a kangaroo as a pet. If you would still like to get a marsupial pet in Canada, it is legal and relatively easy to get the ever-smiling quokka, another treasured Australian marsupial

Don’t try and get a koala, though; they are endangered and protected.

If you consider buying a pet kangaroo, you need to check with your local authorities to see if it is legal. Even if it is legal, you will need to get a permit.

Kangaroos Aren’t Domesticated

Another thing to keep in mind is that kangaroos are not domesticated animals. Kangaroos are not bred in captivity to be tame and friendly around humans.

They are wild animals and have all the instincts that come with that. As a result, they can be dangerous to people, especially if they feel threatened. They have powerful legs and can kick with great force. They also have sharp claws that can cause serious injuries.

Kangaroos are also notoriously large and strong, and they have been known to attack people. They can also be quite mean, especially when protecting their young.

These marsupials are alarmingly talented escape artists, as they are excellent jumpers and can easily hop a home’s fences. Once unleashed, you’ll have a hard time getting your kangaroo wrangled, making them a serious danger to people and cars they encounter along their exodus.  

Finally, ‘roos make a lot of noise, especially at night. This can be very disruptive to your neighbors and may get you in trouble with the law.

Are Kangaroos Dangerous?

It’s easy to mistake these deceptively charming, large-footed long jumpers for being as cute and cuddly as they appear on our favorite children’s TV shows. 

Unfortunately, like so many other subjects of our adolescent adoration, kangaroos join the ever-growing list of topics that ruin our sense of wide-eyed wonder.  

There are a few reasons why kangaroos are particularly dangerous house pets:

They Have Honed Survival Instincts 

Kangaroos are wild animals and can be as dangerous as any other undomesticated creature. Your exotic pet may seem friendly and then suddenly become aggressive if it feels threatened by human behavior. 

All wild animals are in a constant struggle for life and death. They may find your friendly gesture threatening and revert to their animal instincts. 

They’re Armed (Literally) to the Teeth

To help them in their constant battle for survival, kangaroos are equipped with a veritable arsenal of weapons designed to maim any threats. 

This includes absurdly powerful legs, with which they can deliver a volley of kicks, sharp claws, and a painful bite.

They’re Passionately Protective Mothers

When you are around mother kangaroos, it is essential to be aware of your surroundings and how your body language appears to your marsupial ward. 

Kangaroos can become aggressive, especially if small kangaroos (also known as joeys) are around. A mother will fiercely defend her young at the expense of your well-being.

The Dating Scene is Very Competitive

Kangaroos are also dangerous during mating season

During this time of the year, male ‘roos will box each other for the right to mate with female kangaroos. 

Instead of boxing with their hands, they kick each other with their feet, and you’re sure to fare poorly if you attempt to square up between two males with romantic intentions in mind. 

How Much Does A Kangaroo Cost?

If you want to buy a kangaroo as a pet, be prepared to shell out some serious cash. 

A single pet kangaroo for sale can cost up to $3,000, and a baby kangaroo can be even more expensive. 

It may also be challenging to find a breeder since kangaroos are exotic animals. If you do, the price may be higher than you expect, but the breeder will expect you to pay for any paperwork necessary for moving the kangaroo. 

Additionally, kangaroos have a specific diet, and it costs around $9 per day to feed them. That amounts to an additional $3,000 a year.

In addition to the upfront cost of purchasing a kangaroo and feeding it, you also have to provide it with an enclosure. Kangaroos traditionally roam the open spaces of the Australian outback. They need ample space within a well-built pen that can withstand their shows of strength. 

Of course, you’ll also have to keep height in mind. An adult kangaroo can jump fifteen feet forward and four feet high. 

Your neighbors certainly won’t appreciate you skimping on vertical fencing when they wind up with a ‘roo tangled in their bedsheets and undergarments hanging on the clothesline. 

There are also the costs of paying for the permit, vaccinations, and other medical bills. Since kangaroos are exotic animals, they need to see specialized veterinarians. Your local vet will likely have zero experience working with a kangaroo. 

The initial cost of getting a kangaroo is likely to exceed $6,000, and the yearly costs after will exceed any benefits of taking on a kangaroo as a household pet.