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Unusual Pets - Wallabies

By: Alex Lieber

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Imagine owning "Big Foot" as a pet. Technically, you do by owning a wallaby. A miniature version of the kangaroo, wallabies belong to a group of animals called macropods – Latin for "Big Foot."

Native to Australia, wallabies can make great pets if you raise them properly and "wallaby-proof" your home. For the first year they should remain in the home. Afterwards, they need a rather large play area – 50 by 50 feet of hopping room, surrounded by a large, sturdy fence.

Wallabies can be trained to live indoors, but beware: These affectionate, playful creatures have the ability to open cupboards, jump on counters and other high places. They are known to enjoy taking a bath with human owners and may turn the bedroom into his or her sleeping quarters, if not properly trained.

Young wallabies are called joeys, and both males and females will want to play-box. While cute when they're young and small, this behavior can grow into an obnoxious habit after they reach their full height of 2 ½ to 3 feet, and 30 to 40 pounds in weight. Although females lose interest in this type of play as they get older, the males love it. In fact, if you don't discourage boxing while they're young, a male wallaby will delight in pummeling you even more as he gets older.

Both males and females are generally good-natured and can be taught to hop on a leash. They are very affectionate creatures; you know you're a member of the pod when one licks and grooms you.

To learn more about these miniature kangaroos, see Choosing a Wallaby.

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