Can You Have A Koala As A Pet?

Koalas are one of the most unique creatures in the world. While being officially known as koala bears, these creatures aren’t actually bears at all, in fact they are marsupials, just like kangaroos and opossums. 

Can You Have A Koala As A Pet?

Koala bears are often perceived as cute and cuddly creatures, with a sweetness that we normally associate with domesticated animals, such as cats and dogs.

This is part of the reason why many people dream of having a koala bear as a pet. But is this actually something that you can do?

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at koala bears, to explore whether, or not, you can have one as a pet. We’ll also take a look at some of the reasons why these creatures cannot be kept as pets.

So, if you want to find out more, keep on reading! 

What Is A Koala?

Before we take a look at anything else, let’s quickly establish exactly what a koala is. As we have said, this is a creature that many people have heard of, but also one that causes a lot of confusion.

Especially as many people believe that koalas are actually bears. 

Well, as we have already said, koalas actually belong to the marsupial family. Marsupials are a sub-species of mammals that are collectively grouped together due to the fact that they have a pouch.

This pouch makes them different from other mammals, especially when it comes to producing offspring. 

A lot of mammals have long gestation periods because they deliver live young, consider humans and elephants for example.

Marsupials are different because they have short gestation periods, this is because their offspring will be delivered when they are not fully developed.

Their offspring will then move into the koala’s pouch where it will continue to develop until they are advanced enough to survive on the Earth. 

Koalas aren’t the most famous type of marsupial, instead this name probably belongs to the kangaroo. But just as kangaroos use their pouches to keep their developing offspring alive and safe, so do koalas.

So, despite popular belief, koalas aren’t actually bears, they are marsupials. They simply have a slight resemblance to a bear which can cause some confusion.

Can You Have A Koala As A Pet?

Can You Have A Koala As A Pet?

Now that we know exactly what a koala is, let’s take a look at whether, or not, you can keep one as a pet. Well, in one word, the answer is no. You cannot keep koalas as pets and this is actually prohibited across the entire world. 

When you live outside of Australia, it is really easy to imagine individuals keeping these animals as pets, but this is also illegal in Australia.

Koalas are not domesticated creatures, they are wild animals, and this is where they belong. Keeping a koala as a pet would be totally unnatural and it would significantly damage the koala’s quality of life.

However, there are some exceptions where you may be able to keep a koala.

These mainly include if you work for a zoo or wildlife sanctuary (and the koala is kept there), if you work for a center that cares for injured and orphaned koalas, or in some cases if you are a scientist studying koalas.

But no ordinary person will be able to keep a pet koala, and even if you work in any of these positions, the koalas that you look after will be very different to pets. 

Why Can’t Koalas Be Kept As Pets?

So, you might be wondering, “why can’t koalas be kept as pets?”. Well, the main reason is the one that we just mentioned, and that is that koalas are not domesticated creatures.

Only domesticated animals should be kept as pets, and koalas are wild animals which makes them unsuitable as pets. But this isn’t the only reason why they cannot be kept as pets. 

The next reason why koalas cannot be kept as pets is because they are considered a protected species. This is because the koala population in the wild is dwindling, and this makes the species vulnerable to extinction.

Not only is the koala population dwindling, but in recent years it has begun to plummet, making these beautiful creatures incredibly at risk of extinction. 

But all that aside, even if it was legal to keep a koala as a pet, these creatures would not make good pets. While they may look cute and cuddly, koalas are actually pretty unfriendly and unsocial.

They sleep for large portions of the day and would not be anything like you would imagine a koala to be as a pet. So, even if you were allowed to keep koalas as a pet, they probably wouldn’t be suitable. 

Are Koalas Dangerous?

Finally, let’s take a look at whether, or not, koalas are dangerous. While they are not particularly social, koalas actually aren’t that dangerous.

In the wild they have minimal interaction with humans, and this is mainly due to the fact that they sleep for around 22 hours a day. 

As we have just established too, koalas are not that friendly. Instead of coming to greet you in the wild, a koala is more likely to shuffle higher up the tree that they are in to get away from you.

They should be admired from a distance, rather than forced into uncomfortable situations. 

It is very important that you do not push koalas out of their comfort zone. If they feel threatened, it is possible that the koala could become violent and aggressive, and this could make them dangerous.

They are wild animals, so koalas should be respected when you encounter them in their natural habitat, or anywhere for that matter. 


In conclusion, no, you cannot have a koala as a pet. While they may look like they would make cute and cuddly pets, koalas actually wouldn’t. They aren’t friendly and sleep for the majority of the day, which would make them boring pets. 

However, even if you wanted to, you cannot keep a koala as a pet as this is illegal due to the fact koalas are considered endangered. 

Thanks for reading! 

Olivia Kepner