When you think of a wallaby, you might think of a kangaroo. These two animals are similar in a couple of ways. Both are marsupials and native to Australia. People have come to adore the wallaby, which is smaller than a kangaroo but is still a symbol of Australia. As a result, several types of wallabies have wound up in the pet trade. These “mini kangaroos” are less common pets in the United States, but they can be owned legally in some states if they are bred in captivity and you have a permit to own an exotic animal in your area. In many city limits, wallabies are illegal to own because they require so much outdoor space.
We don’t encourage or endorse keeping a wallaby as a pet. It’s a wild animal and should remain that way. But since people do own them, let’s take a look at what goes into caring for one in captivity.
They’re Super Cute
The novelty of having such an exotic animal is too fun for some people to pass up. Since you can’t legally own a wild wallaby, you can only acquire one that was captively bred. The wallaby that you’d be getting would be a baby, or joey. This makes the wallaby even more adorable, but it also means the joey was taken away from their mother to be your pet. While all pet animals, at some point, are taken away from their mothers, the joey can suffer psychologically if separated from their mother wallaby too early.
People usually get a joey around 6–8 months old, but joeys aren’t weaned until they are 15 months old. A baby wallaby requires feedings seven to nine times a day, regulated body temperatures, and a synthetic pouch resembling their mother’s for sleeping.
How Much Is a Wallaby?
The price of the animal can range anywhere from $1,000–$4,000. The cost of the wallaby is already significant but add to that the costs of food, housing, and veterinary care. This is not a cheap pet to purchase or own.
Your wallaby requires a great deal of space, especially as an adult. To mimic their wild environment, you should have at least an acre of land to dedicate to their home. This space should be enclosed with chicken wire or something similar and be at least 6 feet tall. Anything shorter, and your wallaby could hop right over it. If possible, covering the top with chicken wire is best to keep them safe from predators. Small buildings like sheds or barns should be available when your wallaby wants to go inside. They should always be brought in at night. Nests made of straw will allow them to sleep comfortably and be safe overnight from stress and danger. They should have access to shelter at all times, especially during inclement weather. Wallabies don’t mind the cold, but they should never be left outside in the snow for long. All these things can quickly increase the cost of owning this pet.
Wallabies can’t be housebroken. This means more work because you have to clean their habitats. Old food and droppings can be removed with a rake to stave off any rodent or insect infestations. Soiled bedding must be replaced. Any parts of the habitat that get dirty should be hosed off thoroughly.
A wide variety is key to the wallaby’s diet. It’s what they would naturally forage for in the wild, and it prevents boredom. The base diet for a wallaby can be purchased. This should always be combined with other things to keep your wallaby happy and provide the necessary nutrients that they need. Salt licks should also be given to your wallaby for vitamin E. Other fresh foods that your wallaby will enjoy include:
Be sure to provide clean, fresh water at all times.
Are Wallabies Friendly?
After all, if you own one, you might want to interact with it. Wallabies are not domesticated animals. Therefore, socialization when they’re joeys might make them tame at that time, but as they grow, they can resort to their wild ways. This means human company is probably not going to be something that they desire. If they decide that they don’t want to interact with you, they could get agitated at your presence. Stomping their feet, kicking their hind legs, and letting out a hoarse sound are signs to back away. The wallaby can deliver a strong kick with their back legs, which they will do if they feel threatened.
How Long Will a Wallaby Live?
A wallaby can typically live for 10–15 years in the wild, but some live only 5 years in captivity. It’s possible to prolong your pet wallaby’s life with proper care and enrichment. Wallabies are curious creatures, and their environment should be full of fun things for them to do. Toys and hidden treats for them to find will give them something to do and keep them fulfilled. Investing in this animal requires both money and time. If you can’t dedicate the proper amount of each to ensure that your wallaby has everything to live comfortably, this isn’t the animal for you.
Is a Wallaby a Bad Pet?
We love wallabies, but we don’t endorse keeping them as pets. Still, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t good pets to have. With the right amount of consideration, time, care, and love, you can provide a wallaby a happy home. However, this is a non-domesticated animal that lives in the wild. It won’t be a guarantee that your wallaby will remain tame. It means your wallaby can’t be enjoyed in the same way that you interact with a dog or cat. Around breeding time, your male wallaby can become aggressive and irritable. The stress of breeding wallabies in captivity can also lead to premature deaths.
For the right person, especially in conservation and sanctuary groups and facilities, wallabies can do fine in captivity. But they are not the right pets for everyone.
Wallabies are cute and fun exotic pets, but only if the necessary time is put into their care. This animal is not legal to own everywhere, so if you’re looking to acquire one, check the laws in your area first. Wallabies require much more work than domesticated animals and have expensive housing and dietary needs. If you’re willing to put in the effort, you will be rewarded with a happy wallaby.
Featured Image Credit: Image Credit: Pixabay