Kangaroos Increasingly Calling Texas Home But “Pets” They Are Not

Did you know that you can own a kangaroo in Texas? Why you’d want to, we’re not sure. But Texas is one of thirteen states in the U.S. that allows citizens to keep kangaroos as exotic pets. In fact, the animals are surprisingly popular there, partly due to the similarities in environment the Lone Star state shares with Australia. That, paired with lenient exotic animal laws, and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of roos.

Photo: Pixabay/pen_ash

Animals with Brute Strength

But is it a good idea to own an animal with the strength of the Hulk? According to A to Z Animals, “a red kangaroo can deliver an incredible 759 pounds of force with a single kick! As well as being able to inflict serious damage with their kicks, buff kangaroos have been known to crush metal with their bare hands, which is seriously impressive. They also have a punch force of about 275 pounds.” And this doesn’t even mention their incredibly sharp claws.

Kristen Garrett, an animal outreach coordinator at the Fort Worth Zoo, has worked closely with red kangaroos. “I loved working with them, but I wouldn’t want to take them home with me,” Garrett was noted as saying in Texas Monthly. “I would highly recommend against it.”

kangaroo boxing match
Photo: Pixabay/Papafox

Animal Advocates

Even advocates of the animals living within the state say that ownership shouldn’t be taken lightly and that education about the massive marsupials should be undertaken before progressing to ownership. For starters, kangaroos can’t just eat anything. They require highly specialized diets consisting of hay and tree branches that aren’t native to Texas. They’re also not an animal your average veterinarian would have studied up on at vet school, so you’d likely need a specialist if problems arose.

Garrett seconds that, saying exotic animals are costly to care for, particularly when adapting them to a new place. “I wouldn’t bring a polar bear to somewhere just because it’s cold,” Garrett added. “That’s bringing in a species that doesn’t belong.”

She also pointed to the size and physicality of adult kangaroos that make them particularly difficult to keep at most homes. They can be shockingly aggressive, easily jump over fences, and reach speeds of more than 35 miles per hour. Because of this, they frequently go AWOL, leaving their owners to try to round them up after their walk- or hop-abouts.

kangaroo and joey
Photo: Pixabay/judithscharnowski

Exotic Animal Laws

According to Texas law, they’re considered exotic animals rather than dangerous wild animals. If you live in one of those 13 states that allow them, it’s important to find out if a permit is needed to keep one, to fully understand the laws of ownership should it harm someone, and to know exactly what you’re letting yourself in for if you’re going to care for one properly and responsibly with the animal’s health and welfare in mind. Even if it’s legal, is it a good idea?

People, Pets & Planet

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