There’s no denying that kangaroos can be quite endearing as you watch them graze peacefully in their native country, Australia. Although these large marsupials are quite cute and generally, peaceful animals, they are large and powerful and can at times be dangerous. One question that is commonly asked is can you have a pet kangaroo?

There is no easy answer to this question. In their native country, Australia, it is illegal to keep a kangaroo as a pet except in the state of Victoria. But even then, a special permit is required and this is usually only issued to zoos and fauna parks.

In fact, it is generally considered a bad option to keep any native Australian wildlife as a pet due to the very different needs that these animals have and the fact that they are wild animals and therefore, belong in the bush. However, very surprisingly, there are states in the US where it’s legal to have a kangaroo as a pet.

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Keeping A Kangaroo As A Pet In Australia Is Mostly Illegal

In all Australian state except Victoria, it’s actually illegal to have a pet kangaroo. Even if you live in Victoria and want a pet kangaroo, the kangaroo cannot come from the wild and you will need a special wildlife licence to keep one.

The rules that apply to getting a wildlife licence are quite stringent too. For example, the animal must be acquired from a lawful source and cannot be taken from the wild. Additionally, you need to obtain a Wildlife Advanced Licence which currently costs nearly AU$200 per year.

There are also many other conditions which have to be adhered to including keeping detailed record books and providing an adequate cage or enclosure that not only provides shelter but also protects the animal from predators and ensures its health and safety.

This generally means that only registered organizations such as animal sanctuaries, fauna parks and other such places can legally apply for a permit to keep a kangaroo in Australia.

The only exception is wildlife carers who will have a permit to look after injured or orphaned kangaroos but these must be released back into the wild once they are able to be.

States In The US Where It’s Legal To Have A Pet Kangaroo

There are thirteen states in the US where it’s legal to have a kangaroo as a pet. These are:

  • Maine
  • Illinois
  • Idaho
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin
  • South Carolina
  • Washington
  • Texas
  • West Virginia

A very small number of these states allow you to keep a kangaroo without a permit while the rest will require a special permit. These permits can be quite expensive and will have a number of restrictions. For example, in some states the animal cannot be sold or kept for a commercial purpose while in other states, the animals cannot be imported or bred with.

Why Keeping A Kangaroo As A Pet Is Not A Good Idea

As mentioned, kangaroos are wild animals and, therefore, do not really make good pets. For example, kangaroos need a lot of space to roam around in. They are used to traversing large distances in their native country and do not really like to be confined to a small area.

In addition, kangaroos are not solitary animals and have a natural tendency to live in large mobs. In fact, some mobs can contain as many as 50 animals at any one time.

Then there is the issue of fencing. By now you should be aware that kangaroos can jump pretty high but that is not the only problem. You see, in the wild, kangaroos tend to go under or through fences rather than jump over them.

Most farm fencing in Australia is made from strands of wire with metal or timber posts at regular intervals. This style of fencing allows kangaroos to both go under the fence or climb through the gaps in the wires.

Kangaroos Can Have Aggressive Tendencies Even If Bred In Captivity

Male kangaroos especially, have an inbred tendency for fighting. This is simply part of their DNA. Even if a kangaroo has been bred in captivity, this tendency will still be part of its natural instinct.

Therefore, even a kangaroo that is kept as a pet may sometimes lash out either in defence or even in a more playful gesture. A wild animal such as a kangaroo does not understand the difference between humans and animals. It just sees us as another animal and will respond to us accordingly.

And, if you have seen the long sharp claws and strong hind legs of a mature kangaroo, you will surely understand who will come off worse if the kangaroo decides it wants to have a fight.

Kangaroos Have Special Dietary And Health Requirements

In the wild, kangaroos feed on a variety of native grasses, shrubs and leaves. This diet might be hard to replicate and if the kangaroo doesn’t have its dietary requirements met, it might become ill.

In this case, it’s important to understand that these animals are quite susceptible to stress-related illnesses and will need specialist care if they do become sick.

Final Thoughts

You might think that having a kangaroo as a pet is a novel idea but it is not really wise. For starters, in most parts of Australia, it’s actually illegal to keep a kangaroo as a pet. The only state this is not so is in Victoria. However, even in this state, a special wildlife licence is required and this is almost impossible to obtain unless the applicant is some type of wildlife organization.

On the other hand, there are around thirteen states in the US where it’s legal to keep a pet kangaroo. However, most of these also require a special permit that comes with stringent rules and regulations.

On the whole, keeping a kangaroo as a pet is not a good idea. Kangaroos are wild animals and deserve to be in their natural habit where they can roam and live their best life.

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