Wallaroos, like kangaroos and wallabies, are Australian marsupials that raise their young in furry pouches on their bellies. Pet wallaroos are rare in the United States because most states ban their ownership. Caring for a wallaroo is challenging, at best, as this active jumper is ill-suited to life in a human environment. Not only will a pet wallaroo damage property by leaping onto furnishings and digging holes, but it can also hurt itself among such unnatural surroundings. Wallaroos can never be kept with cats because of the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis from feline feces.
Common Names: Common wallaroo, wallaroo, grey wallaroo, red wallaroo
Scientific Names: Macropus robustus (grey wallaroo) and Macropus cervenus (red wallaroo)
Adult Size: 32 to 58 inches
Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
Can You Own a Pet Wallaroo?
Laws regarding exotic pets such as the wallaroo vary from state to state and even from county to county. Wallaroos are illegal in most states, but wallaroos, wallabies, and kangaroos are legal in Colorado. You may need a permit or license for importing, exporting, or keeping the wallaroo in your state. Before getting one, check your local laws as they change frequently.
The wallaroo is a fascinating and potentially amicable animal, but it is not well suited to life in a human home, so owning one is considered unethical even if it is legal to own one in your state.
Things to Consider
Wallaroos are extremely curious and active animals that naturally jump to travel around, explore, and get sufficient exercise. Trying to confine one in a house or typical backyard is distressing to the animal and may result in significant property damage.
Wallaroo Behavior and Temperament
Wallaroos are shy, and it takes time to teach them to socialize. However, they are curious and will bond quite nicely with their owners if well-raised (while still nursing), socialized, and treated positively. Of course, taking a baby from its mother while it is still nursing can be traumatic and is considered cruel by many people.
Wallaroos can be destructive if left unsupervised. They are very active animals and get bored easily, leading them to break things or dig holes to keep busy.
Wallaroos can get along with dogs if introduced slowly and carefully. Cats should never come in contact with wallaroos as they can spread the deadly toxoplasmosis parasite to them. If your wallaroo comes across cat waste that's infected, it can quickly become infected and die.
This marsupial hails from the wilds of Australia. If you live in an apartment, a wallaroo may not be the right pet, since this animal needs a lot of space. It is also a jumper, so it will need a large yard, pen, or pasture that is secure and fenced for adequate exercise. A wallaroo needs at least 2,000 square feet of space and a fence that's at least 6 feet tall (which will also keep out unwelcome predatory animals).
A wallaroo needs a shed, dog house, or shelter with hay or straw bedding and access to food. Wallaroos are hardy creatures that can adapt to cold weather. But if you experience extreme winters, and the temperatures drop lower than freezing inside the shelter, provide a heating lamp.
If you're considering keeping a wallaroo in the house, these animals won't use a litter box, so you'll need diapers, and fitting them can be a challenge. You'll also need to remove any fragile or breakable objects. Having a wallaroo in the house is a dangerous undertaking for both the animal and your home. Its hefty size, insatiable curiosity, and penchant for jumping make it unsuitable for most pet owners.
What do Wallaroos Eat and Drink
Wallaroos are herbivores that graze on grasses and shrubs in their natural environment. In captivity, give them a constant supply of fresh, good-quality hay (such as Bermuda, alfalfa, or ryegrass).
Ideally, provide a securely fenced grass pasture for them to graze upon. You can also feed wallaroos a commercial kangaroo or a wallaby diet (for example, Mazuri). Offer a variety of fresh vegetables as treats. Vitamin E and selenium supplements are also recommended. You can put their food in a larger hopper. As grazers, they'll only eat when hungry, not opportunistically.
They will need fresh water daily. Place it in the shade and off the ground to prevent defecation in the water. The water trough should have enough room to let the wallaroo put its forelegs in it to cool down.
If you get a baby wallaroo, you'll need to bottle feed it with a specialized formula (Wombaroo, Biolac, or Di-Vetelact). They will need to feed every few hours until they can eat on their own (about 8 months old).
Common Health Problems
Wallaroos are subject to many of the same diseases experienced by other medium-sized mammals, including viral and bacterial infections, injuries, and cancers. Of special note is the danger of toxoplasmosis, a common pathogen in domestic cats. This disease is not always fatal to cats but can easily kill a wallaroo. Vaccines can help prevent illness, and regular visits to an exotic animal veterinarian may help find health issues in their early stages.
Wallaroos need a lot of exercise which includes jumping to keep their strong legs and tails in shape. Exercise also helps these animals stay healthy and happy in captivity. The key to making sure a wallaroo gets enough exercise is space-lots of it-where the animal can move around and jump freely.
Males can be close to 5 feet tall and weigh up to 100 pounds, while females are close to 3 feet tall and rarely get larger than 50 pounds.
Pros and Cons of Keeping a Wallaroo as a Pet
Besides being cute and entertaining to watch, there are few reasons to own a wallaroo. For the average person, keeping a wallaroo would be fraught with annoyance and possibly peril, as these curious animals always seem to be looking for trouble, making messes, destroying property, and jumping. Fortunately, for wallaroos' sake and people's, they are illegal to own in most of the U.S.
Purchasing Your Pet Wallaroo
There are only a few breeders in the United States that raise wallaroos. Visit a breeder to find your pet. Spend some time with your potential pet before you bring it home. Look for animals that are active, bright-eyed, and curious. Its coat should be shiny. Be sure the wallaroo you're considering is not afraid of humans. Adopt a wallaroo when it's as young as possible to increase the likelihood that it will bond well with you and your family.
Wallaroos are costly to buy and care for. Expect to pay between $1,000 and $4,000 for the wallaroo, plus you will need to fence in its entire enclosure. The average food costs are about $200 to $400 per month.
Similar Animals to the Wallaroo
If you are interested in wallaroos, check out:
Are wallaroos suitable house pets?
Wallaroos make terrible house pets because they don't like being confined, jump recklessly, are prone to breaking things, and are incapable of being potty trained.
What do wallaroos eat?
They graze on grasses and shrubs in the wild.
Where do wallaroos live in the wild?
They live in the Australian outback.