Your New Pet Wallaby

Rock Wallaby Sign

If you’re anything like me, if something catches even your slight interest, you need to find out anything and everything about it that you can. Who was that band who does that song? I must find everything that they’ve ever done. Who invented that thing? Wow, I must know how they invent that, and anything else that they’ve invented. I can get lost in Wikipedia for hours. My latest obsession is a bit of a strange one. For once, I decided to write down as much as I can about this obsession before I veer away from it. At least then it’ll serve a purpose for others. What was it this time?

Owning a pet wallaby.

“A wallaby? What, like, one of those little kangaroo things? Is that what a wallaby is?”

Yeah, that’s basically it. A wallaby is a mini-kangaroo. And yes, that really is almost all there is to it. The definition of wallaby is kind of hazy, and can mean pretty much any medium-sized macropod (or Macropodidae, a family under the infraclass Marsupialia, biologically speaking). There are about thirty known species of wallaby.

“Now when you say ‘medium-sized’…”

The biggest wallaby can get to be six feet long, though half of that would be tail. That’s about a third the size of a big kangaroo. That big wallaby would also weigh between thirty and fifty pounds, far smaller than a big dog. The most common wallaby to have as a pet is the Bennett’s Wallaby, which is one of the bigger species.

“What do wallabies eat?”

Other smaller wallabies.

Kidding. No, they just eat wallaby food. They’re herbivores, so they mostly eat grass and leaves. That brings me to the biggest reason behind their rise in pet popularity: they mow your lawn for you. Of course, they can’t JUST eat the grass in the yard; they need other stuff too. Happy Hopper brand Kangaroo and Wallaby food is a popular one, though obviously you can’t go down to PetCo and buy it. You probably need to order it, and ordering 40lb bags of food can be expensive. You can use a mix of horse and rabbit feed. You can also feed them various fruits and veggies (though broccoli and lettuce/cabbage give them horrible belly-aches and gas).

“Sooo….after they eat all these plants….”

Allegedly, wallabies can be housetrained, or at the least paper-trained. Here’s where my “simple researcherness” comes to light. MOST things I’ve read say that wallabies can be housetrained. A few say not so much. All seem to agree that if you want it done, start early. No different than a dog or cat though. Good news is, wallaby poop comes in small easy-to-clean-up pellets!

“…and where do these things sleep?”

Wallaby Pocket

Once they’re adults, they pretty much lounge around wherever they want during the day. At night, they prefer a pouch. And that’s another great thing about wallabies, they can be put in a handy carrying case/tote bag! Just make (or have made, for you non-crafty Etsy customer types) a warm snuggly thick fleece pouch. You can hang it on a wall, and they’ll hop right in and go to sleep.

“…but you carry them around?”

Early on in life, they need to be socialized, just like any other animal. You carry them around in a pouch with you to meet your friends and neighbors and all. When they’re adults, they’ll hop next to you on a harness and leash if you don’t feel like carrying a forty pound animal around. Plus, let’s face it, you wouldn’t be interested in owning a wallaby if you didn’t want people to stare and ask you about it…which they will.

“So these things live in Australia, right? I live in [insert name of geographical area with climate dissimilar to Australia here]…”

Wallabies are pretty adaptive, if you don’t live in barren sunny Australia. Bennett’s Wallabies are more likely to be effected by extreme heat than extreme cold. They can even stand freezing winters, as long as they get enough outside time in the fall. This way, they can adapt and grow a winter coat. Having said all that, they are still furry animals. If there’s weather you wouldn’t want a dog to stay out in, chances are your wallaby doesn’t want to be left out in it either.

“…and these things are legal?”

I don’t know; I’m not a lawyer. Generally, though, yes. State laws are usually quite open to wallaby ownership. City laws can be a different story though. Always check local laws. This site might be a good start.

“Okay, fine, I know more than I’ve ever wanted to know about taking care of them. Why would I want one as a pet?”

Besides the “pet lawnmower” thing, they’re just cool pets. They have good pet personalities. Pet personalities are important. Chimps, for example, have been known to eat people’s faces off. In case you were wondering: that qualifies as a bad pet personality. Wallabies won’t chew on your face so much as lick your hands and arms for minutes at a time. And before anyone in the back of the room raises their hand, no, they don’t have some crazy alien acid spit, so: a rather good pet personality. They’re social creatures, and will do well with other animals and people. They have big goofy feet, and tiny little t-rex arms, both bonuses.

“Yeah, okay, if they were such dream-boats, we would all have one…”

And we should!

OKay, yeah. You’re right; every pet has its drawbacks. Wallabies are no different. Assuming you don’t mind being “those people that have the kangaroo thing in their yard, that can’t be legal, I’m calling animal control,” we’ll start with the biggest barrier of entry to Wallaby World: these suckers are expensive. In the USA, it averages about $1000 just for the animal, and, depending on your breeder, a starter kit (in some parts of the world they’ve caught on a little faster and are much less pricey). Cheaper than some dogs, but not some-mutt-from-the-pound-cheap, either. That’s another issue. You can’t just run down to the local shelter and pick one out. There are a lot of exotic animal breeders, and more are starting up all the time, but there’s still no telling how far you’ll have to travel to find one.

Bennett's Wallaby

Next is the biggest inconvenience: you’ll need a fence, like a five to six foot fence to keep your wallaby from becoming possibly your runaway wallaby. Plus, they need a yard to hop around in, so they’re not the pet for apartment dwellers. On the subject of hopping, like a dog, you’ll want to teach them to stay off of certain things. They’ll hop up on sofas and beds (not a huge problem), as well as tables and countertops (kind of a huge problem). Add to that the fact that half of the length of a wallaby is tail, which is sure to be swinging into whatever fragile and easily knocked over thing it can find, and you could have a little Australian wrecking ball on your hands.

There’s also some behavior unique to wallabies and kangaroos. They like to play-box. Like Muhammad Ali boxing. You’ll want to teach them not to do that as well. It’s cute when they’re little, but not when your fifty-pound adult wallaby wants your welterweight title while you’re trying to watch Big Bang Theory. Also, they like water. They’ll hop around in kiddie pools and things. If you happen to be taking a bath with the bathroom door not shut all the way, don’t be surprised when you’re quite suddenly joined by a hairy Australian…and I don’t mean Russell Crowe. Unless of course you named your wallaby Russell Crowe…in which case, I don’t want to know about it.

One more thing–and not necessarily a drawback. You’re best raising your wallaby while they’re still being bottle-fed. This is the best way to bond with it and teach it that humans are awesome. You won’t need to bottle feed it for a long time; you can typically get bottle and marsupial nipples (*don’t giggle, don’t giggle, don’t giggle…*) from your breeder, and they can be fed Esbilac puppy formula. Still, it’s something most people won’t want to do, and understandably so.

So, that is wallaby ownership in a rather small nutshell. If you’re looking for a unique, cuddly, adorable, and useful pet, this one might just be for you. As always, check local laws, search the phone book for vets that deal with “exotics,” and find yourself a reputable breeder. For more information, contact your local library or just use Google like you were going to anyway.

By | 2017-09-24T22:50:23+00:00 July 3rd, 2010|Stimuli|40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Louis July 3, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    A friend in Australia who does animal rescues says that wallabies are insane.
    Although, A) we’re talking about non-human socialized wallabies and
    B) he specializes in bats, so maybe he’s prejudiced.

  2. _kelly.King July 5, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Yah first thing I thought when I saw this post is, “Widge, can’t a wallaby positively thump you into a coma or at least a concussion if it just wanted to play?” so it was interesting to find out that you can train them NOT to box. But still, I imagine if it gets scared, it would kick you a good one. Are you seriously considering getting one or were you just intrigued by the notion of ‘how one can have a pet wallaby’? Cuz if you do get one, I know you have hellpuppy, which raises a question you didn’t exactly answer which is how well do they get on with other common pets like dogs and cats?

  3. Widge July 5, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Kelly: I am merely the editor/publisher.

  4. _kelly.King July 5, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    my bad I didn’t notice that it was Phantom’s post

  5. Widge July 5, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    No worries. We get mistaken for each other all the time.

  6. Chad September 16, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Crimonatrix woman! How many mirrors do you own?! Also, what is the point of this? Forgive me if I am wrong but it doesn’t sound like you actually own a wallaby. You just amalgamated other people’s advice and juiced it up with your bubbliness. Why go second hand? Useless!

  7. Widge September 16, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Chad: It’s really important sometimes to read posts instead of skimming them. Sometimes you find all the answers to the questions you have. That and I’m assuming “Crimonatrix Woman!” is what you shout to turn into your superhero form.

  8. Shaq September 17, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Crimonatrix take his advice and actually read through the post rather than skim. He didn’t say anything about owning one himself, idiot.

  9. Widge September 17, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Shaq, it’s all good. Thanks for your defense, though. Although if we’re not careful, “Crimonatrix” is going to become the new epithet of choice. “Crimonatrix, but my feet are killing me.” “Crimonatrix, would you keep your voices down!” That sort of thing.

  10. Mike October 19, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Wallabies for pets? Never thought of it. We’ve probably got a hundred or so in the back yard (I’m Australian. Back yard is about 200acres) and they just wander around eating grass, Wallabies are OK. Not kangaroos though. A big red (standing over 6ft tall) can be VERY dangerous. As long as you yanks stick to wobbles you’ll be O.K.

  11. Chris January 17, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    I wish an intelligent person who knew what they were talking about wrote this article.

  12. Widge January 17, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Chris: And I wish your comment had been insightful, helpful or even remotely interesting. I guess we both have to live with our respective disappointments as best we can.

  13. Anna June 1, 2011 at 8:30 am

    My husband has just phoned “we’re getting three walabies……why don’t you sound excited?” your post has really helped. Thanks

  14. olivia September 5, 2011 at 10:07 am

    i really want a wallaby but my mom would never ever let me get one

  15. Gary September 7, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Hi, could I keep a wallaby in a large dog run? I’ve a big back garden but it is in the suburbs so I can’t exactly ‘wallaby-proof’ it as much as I might like to.
    Please reply by e-mail to [[REMOVED]]

    Thank you,
    Gary

  16. Widge September 8, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Gary: Thanks for the comment. I removed your email address to protect you from spammers. I don’t know if the original author of this post can comment further, but as stated in the post, he’s not a wallaby expert so might not know the answer to your question. My only assumption–and this is based on me living with a large 80 pound hound and not a wallaby–would be the more space the better for any animal. And if you only have the large dog run and no way to take the wallaby out of it safely, I would forego getting a wallaby and get another animal more suited for suburban life. I think both you and the potential wallaby would be a lot happier. But again, that’s my non-expert two cents and should be taken with an entire salt lick, not just a grain of the stuff.

    Thanks again.

  17. Rae December 3, 2012 at 10:28 am
  18. Widge December 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Rae: That’s not the first time we’ve been mistaken for a baseball team. Thanks for the comment, though.

  19. Jason January 8, 2013 at 11:07 am

    My Grandfather purchased a male Bennett Wallaby for my daughters last spring. We live in the Central US and have a small miniature Dachshund as well. We have a large backyard with a 5′ wood privacy fence. Our Wallaby was about three months old when purchased. We bottle fed him until he was about 9 months old then transitioned to Happy Hopper flake food. He was neutered by a knowledgeable veterinarian at about six months. This is important to have done before their hormones kick in. It keeps them docile and predictable. He lived inside until he was about a year old. While inside he wore a baby diaper to keep the accidents contained. He slept in a pouch made from a traditional cotton sweatshirt which we just hung on the door at night.

    Our pet Wallaby, Wally, as my daughters named him, is a fun pet. Now he lives outside in the backyard. He has a house to sleep in and spends his days grazing on our grass and playing. While he was still being bottle fed we took him everywhere in his pouch to socialize him including my daughters soccer games, trips to the lake, shopping, literally everywhere. While young we modified a ferret harness which would fit around his hips and tail so he could hop around with us on a leash. Socialization is extremely important while at a young age. Wallaby’s are flight animals and, as this article mentions, are very susceptible to stress related illnesses. Wally is very friendly and will hop up to anyone that comes into our backyard. He likes attention and loves to be pet. I would put a Wallaby somewhere between a cat and a dog. He only comes when he wants to but enjoys attention. He doesn’t seem to be as smart as a cat or dog and I can’t imagine house training him. They are very quiet animals. The only time Wally makes any noise is when he is nervous. When nervous he makes a chattering noise. When scared Wallaby’s can “lose control”. They don’t attack but will flee without any reasoning. It is important to have a solid fence as a Wallaby, when in flight mode, can run into a chain link fence and break their neck.

    Wally gets along well with our miniature Dachshund. If socialized when young, Wallaby’s will do well with other animals, as long as the animals don’t chase them. Wallaby’s mature at about 18 months and can live 12 – 15 years. They are a higher maintenance animal then a dog or cat when young, but are fun and get a lot of attention. We are the talk of the neighborhood with a “mini kangaroo” hopping around our backyard.

    I recommend a Wallaby as a pet for anyone that has the space and time to take care of them, especially while young. I’ll be happy to answer any questions anyone has regarding Wallaby’s. It has been a steep learning curve but sure a lot of fun!

  20. Widge January 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Jason: Thanks for checking in. Give our best to Wally.

  21. Kathy Foreman March 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Hi Jason, any chance I could get your email? We are awaiting our wallaby and would love to talk with someone that has already owned one and has the experiences that goes along with them.
    Thanks,
    Kathy

  22. Samantha Whitt March 22, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Please let me buy a wallabeee!

  23. Widge March 22, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Samantha: To my knowledge, they’re not available on Amazon. But maybe one day we can 3D print you one.

  24. Miller July 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I was wondering if someone had any advice on how to make/buy a leash for my wallaby…? And in case I can help solve some issues here, my wallaby has been nothing but an absolute joy! I lived in Australia for a long time and have seen some non-trained wallabies that I am super glad no one owned. But if you get them young and treat them right, they will reward you by being a great pet!

  25. EMILY August 9, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    LOVE THIS! YOU HAD ME CRACKING UP AND THE INFORMATION WAS VERY HELPFUL , AS I AM NOW THINKING OF GETTING A LITTLE MINI KANGAROO, THANKS!

  26. Alyssa September 30, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Hello,

    I was wondering if anyone knew an estimate of the required grass area wallabies need?
    I have looked everywhere but all I can find is ‘alot’ of space, which doesn’t help.

    Me and my mom are looking to buy a wallaby from a breeder but before I get too excited I want to know if our garden is big enough.
    We have a shed at the end of the garden which we are looking to convert into a little house for our (hopefully) soon to be fury friend and our garden has a patch of grass which I’m guessing is around 6 feet by 15 feet?….But we are surrounded by a number of fields and parks where a wallaby would be able to graze and play in peace.

    I appreciate nay help that can be given

    Thanks

  27. Widge September 30, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Alyssa: No clue, personally. But I invite anybody else who might know something to respond here. Good luck!

  28. Pam October 2, 2015 at 10:03 am

    will there be a 2015
    32 days of Halloween segment or has it been discontinued?? I truly enjoyed past five years of it. Thank You ..Pam

  29. Amanda October 16, 2015 at 3:07 am

    Alyssa: I have a wallaby and I don’t think that grass area is big enough. It doesn’t happen often but they like to sprint around the yard, and that just isn’t enough room for them to do that! :(

  30. Widge November 28, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Pam: Sorry, I just saw this…unfortunately, 32 Days was pre-empted this year by me needing to work on things that paid my mortgage. :( But watch the site for more news about other things.

  31. Rebecca June 13, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I am currently looking to buy a wallaby but I am having a hard time finding any near me. I live in North Western Michigan, if anyone has contacts for any breeders I would appreciate it. Thank you!

  32. Wallaby September 23, 2016 at 1:19 am

    I thought this article would actually be informative but it’s just filled with crap that’s common sense and can be found on wikipedia

  33. Widge September 23, 2016 at 3:13 am

    So…you consider something to be informative only if it doesn’t share information with either common sense or Wikipedia? And is it really common sense that wallabies really like to play-box? Is it? I guess if my name was Wallaby, I would either already know all this stuff or I would be an obscure 1970s Marvel super-villain. Either way, good luck in prison.

  34. JulieV October 21, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    This was fantastic and extremely helpful. Our daughter is currently living in Australia and has asked me to do some research as to whether or not we could get a wallaby here in Washington state. Anyway, loved your post and will continue on researching from here and I thank you!

  35. Emma February 26, 2017 at 5:29 am

    I have been wanted a wallaby for a while now and this helped with my research a lot. Thank you so much this was really helpful

  36. Alex May 11, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Wow this really helped me thx

  37. Jerryson July 13, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Jerryson S., hello, I have just a few questions for anyone here who knows Wallabies.
    #1: Which Wallaby is better to get: A Tammar Wallaby, or a Bennet’s Wallaby? The thing is, I want someone to cuddle with me, but the Tammar Wallaby tends to be cuter. So, which Wallaby is more friendly is what I’m looking for!
    #2: Can Wallabies be trained to use your toilet or a litter box? This is very important, as my dad would freak out if my Wallaby ended up doing ‘his business’ on our carpet.
    #3: Can your Wallaby sleep in your bed with you? As I said before, I am looking for someone to cuddle with. If not, where would he/she sleep. This brings me to my last question:
    #4: It is true that Wallabies can be housebroken right? I am hoping this is not a rumor, as I was really hoping for an inside pet.
    P.S. I live in… (I don’t want to say) below the Mason Dixon line, but above Texas. Where would I aquire my Wallaby?
    Thank you so much! ?

  38. Joanie August 3, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I loved this article. It is very funny a d had me laughing I, too, get sucked into researching things that I won’t ever use…that’s how I stumbled on this page. Thanks for the info from the Wallaby owners, as well. Forwarding this page to my friend who wants to get a pet.

  39. Linda K. Lee September 6, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    I have had Bennet Wallaby’s for about 14 yrs. Great pets if you get them at an early age. Very easy to care for. I have a 5 ft. fence with black shade cloth around my huge fenced area. I have a pot bellied pig & 4 goats with mine. I feed Happy Hopper flakes that I order fro Pet Pro in Missouri. I have one that is 14 yrs old and my only one at this time.

  40. Brendcaious September 15, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Thank you. I’m so glad you put all this info here. I now know that Wallabies are great, but wouldnt’ fit in my life. That’s valuable information. Please share more of your research on sudden obsessions!

Leave A Comment

%d bloggers like this: