Wallaroo: Species Profile
Wallaroos, like kangaroos and wallabies, are Australian marsupials that raise their young in their pouches. They are middle-sized members of the Macropodidae "large foot" family. Wallaroos are larger than wallabies but smaller than kangaroos. Like kangaroos, they stand on their back legs and eat with their front paws. They are stocky and powerful with shaggy fur and bare black snouts. Males can weigh up to 100 pounds, while females rarely get larger than 50 pounds. Pet wallaroos are rare in the United States as most states ban their ownership.
Common Name(s): Common wallaroo, wallaroo, grey wallaroo, red wallaroo
Scientific Name: Macropus robustus (grey wallaroo) and Macropus cervenus (red wallaroo)
Adult Size: Wallaroos can grow up to 100 pounds; females are half the size of males
Life Expectancy: 15 to 20 years
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.
They can be friendly, playful, and affectionate, but also mischievous, albeit entertaining. Wallaroos can understand "no," but they need firm corrections and never physical punishment.
On the downside, that mischievousness may lead to damage if you're not supervising them properly. Wallaroos are very active animals and do enjoy plenty of attention and playtime. Also, some species are nocturnal and won't be active during the day when you want to interact.
While wallaroos can sometimes live with other domestic animals such as sheep or goats. It is best to keep them separate, so animals do not share diseases. Keep wallaroos out of reach from predatory animals like eagles and foxes. Wallaroos can get along with dogs; introduce the two slowly to each other to avoid negative interactions. 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 die.
Housing the Wallaroo
This marsupial hails from the wild pastures 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 a jumper, so it will need a large yard, pen, or pasture that is secure and fenced for your wallaroo to run and exercise. It 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 animals).
A wallaroo needs a shed, lean-to, or shelter with hay or straw bedding and access to food. Over the fall with the seasonal cooling change, they will grow a good winter coat, and 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 heating lamps.
If you're considering keeping a wallaroo in the house, these animals won't use a litter box, so you'll need diapers for this pet. You'll also need to remove any fragile or breakable objects. Having a wallaroo in the house is like inviting a bull into a china shop, given its penchant for jumping.
Food and Water
Wallaroos are herbivores, naturally grazing 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 (8 months old). While this does take time and effort, it is a great way to bond with your new pet.
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. Vaccines can help prevent illness, and regular vet visits may help find health issues in their early stages.
Is It Legal to 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 all the time.
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 Pets to the Wallaroo
If you are interested in wallaroos, check out:
- Wallaby Species Profile
- Capybara Species Profile
- Patagonian Cavy Species Profile
Otherwise, check out exotic animals that can be your new pet.