Can You Have A Quokka As A Pet?

Quokkas are one of the cutest animals on the planet, but do they make good pets and more importantly can you own them as a pet legally?

It’s considered to be impossible due to how difficult they are to look after effectively and that to own one is in fact illegal in most countries of the world.

Can You Have A Quokka As A Pet

For those of you who have no idea what a quokka is, additionally known as the

The Quokka

Much like many other Australian animals like the koala, kangaroo, wombats and wallabies the quokka is also a marsupial meaning that the mother will carry their offspring in their abdominal pouch. 

The first explorers of Australia actually believed the quokkas to be giant rats, when you look at one they look like a tiny kangaroo but also share similar characteristics to both capybaras and groundhogs. 

They are small creatures that face a decline in numbers due to threats, such as predators like foxes and cats, further discouraging the idea of keeping them as pets. They are commonly known as the ‘happiest animal on earth’ as their facial structure makes it look like they are constantly smiling.

Tourists from all around the world will travel to Rottnest island where the quokkas thrive so that they can get a selfie with the smiling marsupial. 

Quokkas are such curious creatures that when they see the camera they will look into it purely out of curiosity making them the perfect animal to take a selfie with.

These photos have driven up the interest in the adorable quokkas to a global scale that have driven some to believe that they could own their own smiling marsupial. 

So what are the reasons that owning a quokka as a pet is not commonplace?

Why You Cannot Own A Quokka

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Owning A Quokka Is Illegal 

Quokkas are an endangered species which would make owning one illegal. Current estimates suggest there are only around 12,000 left roaming in Rottnest Island and southwest Australia.

The threats that the marsupial face are loss of their natural habitat and the introduction of the fox to the country has given them a natural predator that has flown through the population.

In 1987 an act protecting the quokkas, a species of short-tailed scrub, was introduced, named the Rottnest Island Authority Act that regulated how humans interact with the animal. The law is incredibly strict with big penalties coming if you even touch one in the wild. 

If you are caught then expect to face a $300 fine. With the amount massively ramping up if you were to take one from the wild or try and have it transported to another country.

There are countries such as the USA and Canada who have laws in place that protect endangered species living around the world from being poached.

The Australian laws are still in place to protect the quokkas and thus make it impossible for one to be owned as a pet.

So we know that it’s illegal to own one but let’s explore if it’s legal and the numerous other reasons as to why making a quokka (see also: Are Quokkas Friendly?)a pet is a very bad idea.


Domestication would be the biggest issue facing you if you were to be able to legally own a quokka, it’s perhaps the biggest issue that exotic pets face and the quokka is definitely amongst them. 

There are many animals that have been domesticated over the years with the most common being dogs and cats, unlike the quokka which remains a creature of the wildlife. Quokkas have never been domesticated and most likely due to their endangered status never will be. 

They can be very docile in nature and are used to being around humans but to domesticate them it would require generations of breeding and there simply are not enough for this to take place effectively. 

When living amongst humans the cute smiley quokka can become a destructive and poor tempered animal. This is due to them becoming bored and frustrated living in a home as opposed to their natural environment. 

There Are No Vets 

If you were allowed to own a quokka as a pet and it fell ill, you would struggle to find a vet with the knowledge required to care for your sick quokka.

There would be a few in Australia due to rescued quokkas needing attention. 

If you do not live in Australia however then you will not have any chance of finding someone equipped to help your furry companion. There may be vets who have worked at zoos with marsupials so there would be a slim chance of help but there would also be the legal trouble.

If a vet were to know that you owned an endangered animal then they are compelled to report you to a legislative. Their aim is to protect not only the animal but also the species making them honor bound to inform. 

Hard To Care For

As they are native to Australia, taking them away from the homeland would require you to provide an environment that matches the outback. Another issue is their diet. They are herbivores but will also eat snails and lizards. 

Not only would you have a hard time replicating their home and diet, some plants that they eat only grow in Australia making it impossible for you to feed your quokka their proper diet as you would need to establish a supply chain to Australia. 

Replicating their environment is not just about reaching the same heat which may be impossible as they are outdoor creatures but they are also used to living in areas that do not see rainfall for months at a time and unless you live in the desert this would not be possible to replicate.

Final Thoughts 

So there we have it all you need to know about one of the most adorable creatures on the planet. We all wish we could have one but as we have found out that is just not possible.

So book the next flight to Australia and get a selfie with one.

Olivia Kepner