Wallabies As Pets: The Complete Pet Wallaby Care Guide
When you think of getting a pet, chances are that the first thing that pops into your head isn’t getting a pat wallaby. And who could blame you. Native to the Australian continent, especially New Zealand and Australia, wallabies as pets have been making a splash recently. They are certainly different from other exotic pet choices, and are a bit similar to dogs as far as their playful nature is concerned. On top of that, pet wallaby care is also not as hard as is made out to be.
Unfortunately, the legal requirements of owning wallabies aren’t uniform. They are classified as exotic animals in most countries with restrictions placed on owning them as pets. In many states of the US they are completely banned, while in others they may be kept as pets as long you meet certain requirements. Even in their native country of Australia they are not classified as domestic animals.
Wallabies as pets are actually quite shy and good-natured. You may have heard horror stories about wallabies attacking humans and doing some serious damage, but what these stories fail to mention is that these are wild wallabies. A lot of animals in the wild can be dangerous. It’s just natural animal instinct to protect themselves. Pet wallabies on the other hand are just lovely. When you combine the fact that they are friendly, devoted, incredibly cute and affectionate, having wallabies as pets is more than worth it.
Let’s start with some basic facts about wallabies as pets.
Species Of Pet Wallabies
There are more than 30 species of wallabies, local to just three countries. And just 3 of these are bred in other countries. The 3 are Bennett’s wallabies, Damas wallabies and the Red-necked wallabies.
The reason that only these 3 have managed to migrate and adapt successfully away from their native land is the fact that they are more tolerant of weather conditions, and can do well in colder climates. Generally, wallabies relish hot, arid environments and thrive in those conditions.
Bennett’s wallabies are the most popular wallaby pet specie. This is because they are diurnal (active in the day) and are not as easily stressed compared to other pet wallabies. However, on the flip side, the size of a Bennett’s wallaby is larger than the other two wallaby species and so they obviously require more space.
Do Wallabies Make Good Pets?
Wallabies make great pets. They have great feeding habits, are quite sociable and pet wallaby care is a breeze. Do remember that if you are thinking of adopting a wallaby as a pet, considering their size is of utmost importance. Wallabies may be around 2.5 feet tall and weigh around 30 pounds. But the larger breeds can reach up to 6 feet from head to tail.
Do Wallabies As Pets Need Company?
Wallabies actually do quite well alone. They don’t need another pet wallaby companion and will do well by themselves. They don’t especially hate company but don’t look for it either.
Wallabies can live up to 25 to 30 years and in some cases even up to 40 years in the wild. A wallaby as a pet though has a much shorter lifespan. A pet wallaby lifespan ranges anywhere from 9 to 15 years. It basically depends on the time and effort you put in your pet wallaby care. Love it, care for it, make sure it gets its exercise and you might just extend its life.
Baby Pet Wallaby Care
Baby wallabies or joeys are quite dependent on their mothers for food and protection. You would be best advised not to buy a wallaby that is too young. Having said this, most breeders don’t really sell very young wallabies.
Being marsupials, wallaby babies like hanging out in their mother’s pouch where they are most comfortable. You will need to replicate these conditions by making them a pouch of their own.
When buying baby wallabies as a pet, make sure that they are not put under any stress. The moving process should be as stress free and comfortable as you can make it. Whoever you buy the animal from should be able to guide you. But it is vital to remember that baby pet wallaby care requires much more time and devotion than other pets.
Regulate body temperature
One of the primary reasons that baby wallabies stay in their mothers’ pouches is that they aren’t able to regulate their own body temperature yet. The pouch helps them do that. This is vital for them for proper metabolism and digestion of food that they eat.
With this in mind, it is imperative that you make sure that your baby wallaby’s body temperature is at an optimum level, especially while feeding it. Use an electric blanket to maintain the temperature around 85-90°F (29-33°C). Try and layer the baby by covering it with another cloth or two and then wrapping it with the blanket. It’s better to not let the baby come in direct contact with the blanket or it might get too hot. Neither too hot, neither too cold. Remember that!
One of the primary reasons that wallabies are not allowed as pets in some countries and states of the US is that they are one of the most easily stressed animals. What this means is that they have a tendency to go into their shells, won’t eat anything and will just lose their spark.
Wallaby babies, as you would expect, are more inclined to take stress and stop eating. We don’t have to tell you that at this stage of development this could be disastrous for them. A change in environment, new owners, too much handling – anything could set it off.
It is important that once you’ve given the baby wallaby a new place to live, a warm pouch, give it time to get used to its new environment. Don’t handle it too much. Don’t observe it too much, it will get shy. Only handle it when you have to feed it. Let it grow accustomed to living in its new home. Let it understand that you are a friend.
Feeding Baby Pet Wallabies
Wallabies are herbivores and like eating all manner of grass and leaves. Baby wallabies though are completely dependent on their mother’s milk for food.
You will have to provide your pet baby wallaby with milk. Since you won’t generally have access to wallaby milk, your baby might need different types of milk at different stages of growth so that it gets the proper nutrition. What you are trying to do is replicate a natural process, so even though you can get quite close, you can never replicate it 100%.
Check online or your local pet store to see if they carry any milk replacement options for your wallaby. In Australia, for instance, Wombaroo sells products that act as milk replacements for different marsupials. Most of these options will be powdered milk either made by mixing and drying the milk of different animal species or just the one animal.
Feeding a baby wallaby is quite easy. Since they feed by sucking on their mothers teat, they will easily feed from a milk bottle with a teat. You can also use a syringe, but a bottle works best. Mix your milk supplement in warm water (not cold, not room temperature) and fill up a milk bottle. Feed the baby wallaby while it remains in its pouch. Feed as much as it can drink. Your baby wallaby pet needs it.
Solid food introductions
The thing about having a baby wallaby as a pet is that it will leave the pouch once it is time on its own. You don’t have to do anything to trigger this process. Once it is old enough and comfortable enough, it will start leaving the pouch at regular intervals. This is a sign that it is ready for some solid food too.
Your baby wallaby will still prefer its milk bottle. But you should offer it some fruits and vegetables as well. Try offering it to them once a day for starters. When you think that they are eating more of it, you can increase the frequency and amount.
The best food options for them at this stage would be lettuce leafs, apples, carrots and maybe some sweet grass. You can put this inside the pouch to see if your baby wallaby wants to eat it. Or you could leave it just outside and see if it will venture into the outside world.
As your baby wallaby grows, its needs will alter. Its feeding habits will transform. Below we talk about taking care of a wallaby.
Pet Wallaby Care Guide
It is always a good idea to only have wallabies as pets and no other pets that they could consider a threat. The fact is that your little wallaby will see your other pets like a dog or a cat as a danger to itself. These pets may make them nervous and they could panic. For larger wallabies, wallabies that are adults, this might be different.
As we’ve said before, wallabies are easily stressed. And this stress can negatively affect a wallaby lifespan. You need to be careful.
If you have other pets besides your wallaby, the best advice on our part would be to never leave your wallaby alone with your other pets. Always supervise their coming together. They may always seem friendly and seem to be playing with each other, but it doesn’t take long for things to escalate.
Also, it is best to keep your wallaby pet as far away from a pet cat as possible, if you have one. Cat feces are known to contain certain microbes which can cause toxoplasmosis in wallabies. This disease can be fatal for your wallaby pet. So, it is always advisable to say no to cats if you plan to have wallaby as pets.
Shelter For Wallabies As Pets
First of all, keep in mind that wallabies have the tendency to scare easily. One of the reasons that a wallaby lifespan shortens considerably in captivity is this. Try and keep them away from noisy places. Traffic noises or loud machine noise can all stress a wallaby.
Wallabies are very active animals. They love to run and hop around and are a joy to observe. What is even more fun and actually healthy for your wallaby pet is running around in natural sunlight. They need the Vitamin D to be healthy.
It is best you give your pet wallabies a shelter outdoors in addition to a safe indoor shelter. The outdoor shelter should be around 20 x 50 feet, well fenced and well protected. Make sure that the height of the fence is at least 6 feet, or your pet wallaby may just jump over it. If you live in cold temperatures, it would be better to keep them in an indoor shelter.
As far as indoor shelters go, the space requirement is the same as above i.e. 20 x 50 ft. Wallabies as pets don’t do too well in very cold temperatures. Pet wallaby care requires that you make sure their shelter temperature is regulated.
Take Your Pet Wallaby For A Walk
Do wallabies make good pets to take out for walks? The answer is yes.
They do need a lot of leash training. How easy or hard it is to leash train a wallaby depends on each individual animal. But it can be done. While taking them out for a walk keep an eye out for other animals especially dogs. A dog might consider it as a threat. Remember how we mentioned that wallabies are easily stressed. This right here is a perfect example of a stressful situation.
Feeding Your Wallaby Pet
Wallabies are by nature foodies. They love to eat and will eat all day if they can. Another thing they love to do is sleep. So, make sure that their favorite foods are available to them all day.
Their favorite grass diet includes:
- Sweet grass
- Trimmings from an organic orchard or willow boughs
- Orchard grass
- Timothy hay
Wallabies as pets or even in the wild are very sensitive to chemicals. Make sure you bring them organic and chemical spray-free food.
Beside providing them with an unlimited grass diet, it is good to give them a supplementary diet of fruits and vegetables. Fruits may include apples and grapes. Vegetables like lettuce, corn and celery are good options.
Avoid giving them cabbage and broccoli which are not suitable for their digestive system.
Wallaby pellets are also available commercially and you can see if that is an option where you live. If not, you can go for rabbit or horse pellets too. Suffice to say that these are not as good as wallaby pellets but can do a job.
It is recommended that you seek advice from of your pet wallaby breeder about what they were feeding the wallaby before it came to you. If you purchased one as a baby, find out what its mother and family used to eat. Stick with the diet plan that the breeder followed. You may add or eliminate things but only slowly. This is essential for proper pet wallaby care. A sudden change in wallaby diet may result in stomach upsets and diarrhea.
Like all other exotic pets, taking care of wallabies as pets are isn’t the easiest thing in the world. So, keep in touch with the licensed breeder and make sure you are well-informed all the time. Also make sure that there is a vet near you who can take care of the wallaby when the need arises. Pet wallaby care requires you to be diligent and keep an eye on your pet’s health and habits.
Do wallabies make good pets? Sure, they do. But you need to put in the time and effort to make it work!