Kangaroos are the most well-known of Australia’s vastly diverse wildlife. They are unique-looking and powerful creatures. You can probably remember seeing pictures of them when you were a kid or seeing them at a zoo, and thinking, “Wow! What is that animal?”
Their interesting characteristics make some people want to own kangaroos as pets. Although it is legal to own kangaroos in some states, they do not make good pets and should not be kept by private citizens. Keep reading to learn more about why kangaroos shouldn’t be kept as pets and some alternative ways to enjoy these amazing animals.
Why Kangaroos Should Not Be Kept as Pets
Like many baby wild animals, baby kangaroos, or joeys, are small and cute. They can be cuddly and loving. However, they are wild animals and will grow up to be nearly 6 feet tall and, depending on the species, can weigh anywhere from 50 to 150 pounds. Most people simply do not have enough space to properly care for a kangaroo.
Along with their size, adult kangaroos can be aggressive. Combine these two elements and you have a recipe for disaster. They have powerful legs and strong teeth and jaws. When threatened or upset, kangaroos will kick and bite.
Furthermore, kangaroos are very social animals. In the wild, they live in large groups, called mobs, of up to 50 kangaroos. Their lives together revolve around communication via eye contact, hissing, and physical contact. Keeping them as pets separates the kangaroo from their natural social life and can make them anxious, depressed, and angry.
Are Kangaroos Endangered?
In the wild, there are four different species of kangaroos. These include red kangaroos, eastern grey kangaroos, western grey kangaroos, and antilopine kangaroos. None of these species are currently on the endangered list, however, the antilopine is noted as being on the decline.
Because kangaroos only have one natural predator, the dingo, the biggest threat to their existence is human activity. The rapid decrease in land space and increase in popularity of hunting kangaroos for meat and sport can contribute to a future decline in the population of these animals. When animals are also popular in the pet trade, their numbers tend to decline even more quickly.
Where to See Kangaroos Responsibly
Even though you should not keep kangaroos as pets, there are still ways to see and appreciate these beautiful animals responsibly. Many zoos around the world have kangaroo exhibits that you can visit.
Another good option for responsible kangaroo viewing is a wildlife sanctuary. Kangaroos often end up in sanctuaries after a failed pet-keeping experiment. It is important to note that many kangaroos do not survive being pets. They often die at a very young age due to a lack of space and social interaction. Those that do survive, however, may be placed in a sanctuary where they can be better cared for.
Finally, you can take a trip to Australia to see the kangaroo in its natural habitat. This will allow you to appreciate how different any environment you could provide for a kangaroo is from what they need to thrive.
Kangaroos Are Not Good Pets
Even if it is technically legal in your state, you should not keep a kangaroo as a pet. It is dangerous for you and harmful for the animal to keep them away from their normal social group. Instead, take advantage of some of the responsible ways you can enjoy these beautiful creatures from a distance.
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Featured Image Credit: sandid, Pixabay