Can You Own a Kangaroo in Texas? Are kangaroos good pets?

Can You Own a Kangaroo in Texas

Kangaroos are iconic animals that most people associate with Australia, but can you own a kangaroo in texas?

You may be surprised to learn that there are actually a number of kangaroos living right here in the state of Texas!

So can you legally own a kangaroo as a pet in Texas?

Let’s take a look at what the laws say.

Can You Own a Kangaroo in Texas?

Is it legal to own a kangaroo in texas

Yes, it is legal to own as pet kangaroo in Texas with the proper permits. This means that while kangaroos have some restrictions.

Let’s look at what is required.

Kangaroos are not specifically listed as a prohibited species under Texas exotic animal laws. The state considers kangaroos to be “nontraditional livestock.”

Permit Requirements for Owning a Kangaroo in Texas

Do you need a permit to own a kangaroo in texas? Yes, In order to legally own a kangaroo in the state of Texas, you must obtain:

  • An Exotic Wildlife Registration from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • A Captive Wildlife Permit from Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • An Import License from the Texas Animal Health Commission
  • Federal USDA Class III Exotic Animal License

Exotic Wildlife Registration

To legally possess any exotic pet listed as “nontraditional livestock” in Texas, an Exotic Wildlife Registration is required. This costs $280 annually. Kangaroos fall under this requirement.

Captive Wildlife Permit

In addition to the Exotic Wildlife Registration, you must obtain a Captive Wildlife Permit from Texas Parks & Wildlife specifically to possess a kangaroo. This permit costs $272 annually.

Import License

An Import License from the Texas Animal Health Commission is required to bring a kangaroo into the state. This helps prevent the spread of diseases.

USDA Class III License

Even if you meet Texas state requirements, a federal USDA Class III Exotic Animal License is also required to own a kangaroo. This license costs $120 annually.

So in total, to own a pet kangaroo in Texas you need to pay $680+ in annual permit and license fees. You must also meet caging requirements, have your kangaroo microchipped, and follow all exotic animal transportation and care standards. Annual inspections are required too.

Restrictions on Owning Kangaroos in Texas

While Texas does allow pet kangaroo ownership under the right permits, there are some restrictions to be aware of:

  • Wild kangaroo species like red kangaroos are prohibited. Only smaller species like wallaroos, wallabies, and potoroos are allowed with permits. And they must be captive bred.
  • It is illegal to breed kangaroos without being licensed as an exotic animal breeder.
  • Kangaroos cannot be kept as service or emotional support animals in Texas.
  • There are city and county bans on exotic pets including kangaroos even if you have state permits. So check your local municipal codes before getting a pet kangaroo.
  • Kangaroos cannot be owned by felons or those without the proper fencing/caging.
  • Your kangaroo must be microchipped and vaccinated. Proof is required for permits.
  • You must keep exact acquisition and disposition records for inspection at any time.

Yes, Kangaroos can be owned as pets in Texas, there are many hoops to jump through. Always check your city, county, state, and federal laws before attempting to buy an exotic pet kangaroo.

What is Kangaroo

Kangaroos are indigenous to Australia and Papua New Guinea. The largest species is the red kangaroo, which can grow up to 6 feet 7 inches tall and weigh 200 pounds.

Kangaroos are herbivores and get most of their nutrition from grasses. They are able to travel long distances with their powerful hind legs and feet. Kangaroos live in mobs of 10 or more in the wild.

Kangaroos were first brought to the United States in the 1930s when zoos imported them. Some escaped and formed wild colonies in states like Florida and California. Over time, kangaroos made their way to Texas. Today there are wild populations of red kangaroos estimated to be over 10,000 in Texas.

Can kangaroos survive in Texas? Yes, Kangaroos living freely in parts of Texas, some people may be interested in legally owning one as an exotic pet. But what do the state laws say about owning kangaroos in Texas?

Texas Laws on Owning Exotic Animals

The state of Texas has specific laws regarding the private possession of what are termed “dangerous wild animals.” This includes everything from monkeys and big cats to alligators and venomous snakes.

Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 822, it is illegal for Texas residents to own:

  • Non-human primates like chimpanzees
  • Big cats like tigers and lions
  • Bears
  • Hyenas
  • Elephants
  • Rhinoceroses
  • Hippopotamuses
  • Cape buffalos
  • African wild dogs
  • Komodo dragons
  • Alligators
  • Crocodiles
  • Gavials
  • Cobras
  • Mambas
  • Kraits
  • Coral snakes
  • Sea snakes
  • Gila monsters
  • Many venomous spiders like black widows

Pros of Owning a Pet Kangaroo in Texas

If you are able to meet all permit and license requirements, what are some of the positive reasons for owning a kangaroo as a pet in Texas?

They are unique – Let’s face it, kangaroos stand out from common household pets like dogs and cats. They will get attention anywhere you take them.

Good for large properties – Kangaroos require sizable outdoor space. If you own acreage in Texas, a kangaroo can thrive.

They can be trained – Believe it or not, kangaroos can be trained somewhat similarly to dogs. They will even come when called!

Interactive – Kangaroos are very interactive and will want to play and exercise with their owners often. They bond closely.

Texas climate – The hot Texas climate suits kangaroos very well compared to some other exotic pets.

If you love exotic animals and have the means to properly care for one, a permitted kangaroo can make a fun and fascinating pet in Texas.

Cons of Owning a Pet Kangaroo in Texas

Before jumping into kangaroo ownership, also keep the downsides in mind:

Expensive – The annual costs of all the required licenses, permits, veterinary care and quality food adds up fast.

Can be dangerous – Larger kangaroo species can seriously injure or even kill humans unintentionally with kicks or collisions.

Require outdoor space – Kangaroos need room to hop and run. Apartments and small urban lots are unsuitable.

Can escape – Kangaroos are excellent jumpers and climbers. Secure, tall fencing is a must to prevent roaming.

Special diet – Kangaroos have complex nutritional needs that most veterinarians don’t fully understand yet. Feeding correctly is challenging.

Find a vet – There are few vets properly trained to treat pet kangaroos in Texas. Accessing quality healthcare can be difficult.

Permit compliance – Failure to renew licenses or meet housing requirements means forfeiting your kangaroo.

Legal risks – Even accidental permit or license lapses can lead to big fines for owners. Kangaroos may be seized.

Wild behavior – Even well-trained kangaroos retain many natural instincts. They can be unpredictable and destructive at times.

Long commitment – Kangaroos live 12+ years. Are you ready to provide proper care for that long?

Owning a kangaroo is not a casual undertaking. For people ready to fully commit, they can be great pets. But know it will take lots of work and money to own one legally and humanely.

Kangaroo Ownership in Other States

What states can I own a kangaroo? How does Texas compare to other states when it comes to exotic pet laws regarding kangaroos? Here’s a quick overview:

Legal with permit: Texas, Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Montana, Louisiana, Kentucky, Iowa, Florida, Delaware

Conditionally legal: New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan

Illegal to own: California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, Vermont, Maine, Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas

Unclear laws: Mississippi, Indiana

As you can see, Texas is in the minority of states that allow kangaroo ownership with the proper exotic animal permits. It offers one of the few legal options for owning pet kangaroos in the United States.


Can I own a baby kangaroo (joey) in Texas?

Yes, but you need all the same permits as an adult kangaroo. You also cannot separate joeys from mothers before 18-24 months old – this applies even if hand-raised.

What species of kangaroo makes the best pet?

Smaller wallabies and wallaroos tend to be easier to handle than large red or grey kangaroos. Tammar and Bennett’s wallabies are popular choices.

Is it legal to own a kangaroo in Houston or Dallas?

State permits are required, but check local laws too. Many major cities including Houston and Dallas ban exotic pets like kangaroos within city limits.

Do I need experience to own a kangaroo in Texas?

Yes, Texas requires at least two years of experience handling the species you want to own. New owners must work with a mentor.

Can my kangaroo live indoors or is outdoor housing required?

Kangaroos are only allowed in outdoor enclosures in Texas. They need room to hop and exercise. Never leave them inside unattended.

Are kangaroos allowed on a leash in public in Texas?

No. Kangaroos cannot be walked in public like a dog. Their exercise area must be fully enclosed on your private property.

Final Words

Kangaroos are amazing animals that capture people’s interest. But caring for one properly as an exotic pet is a major responsibility. While kangaroos can be owned in Texas with the right permits, they are not pets suited for everyone. Do your research before endeavoring to care for these unique marsupials. With preparation and dedication, permitted kangaroos can make exciting additions to your family!

About Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.

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