Lucky Kangaroos

Can You Feed And Pet Kangaroos at Taronga Zoo?

Holding a joey in Western Australia

Do you want to feed and pet kangaroos?

I’m willing to bet the answer is yes - we all do!

The other day I was preparing myself for a visit to the zoo in Sydney and that got me thinking if you can feed and pet kangaroos at Taronga Zoo?

The short answer is no. As a visitor, you can’t feed kangaroos at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. But there is a large Australian walkabout yard where the kangaroos are free-range and guests are able to walk through. You should stay on the path but if a kangaroo walks by and says hello you’re welcome to give it a gentle pat. In this article, I will also show you the best alternative places where you can feed and pet kangaroos.

A couple of days ago I really wanted to explore something new. Sitting in front of the computer all day long can be really daunting… so I was researching some spare time activities in Sydney.

I always wanted to visit Taronga Zoo which is located on the shores of Sydney Harbour. And when I’m already there, I also wanted to know if you can see the Sydney opera house from Taronga. I’ve seen plenty of amazing pictures but I wanted to know whether this view is open to the public or not. So I was wondering what to expect at Taronga Zoo.

Touching Kangaroos

I’ve been next to dozens of wild kangaroos in my life but I never wanted to touch them. However, I was curious how their fur feels like so I wanted to know if you can feed and pet kangaroos at Taronga zoo? So I did a little research and came to the following conclusion:

Unfortunately, you cannot feed kangaroos at Taronga zoo. However, there is a very large Australian walkabout yard where the kangaroos are kept free-range. As a guest, you are advised to stay on the path but if a kangaroo walks by you are welcome to give it a gentle pat.

Why You Can’t Feed Kangaroos At Taronga Zoo

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t feed kangaroos. First, a human could give the animals something to eat which is not good for them. What might be an excellent and healthy food for humans, might be dangerous for the animals. It is important that visitors don’t interfere with their natural diet. This helps to keep animals safe, happy and healthy for a long time.

It’s for their health

Additionally, imagine that every visitor would feed kangaroos at zoos. There are hundreds to thousands of visitors each day at large zoos and kangaroos would eat too much and get fat and unhealthy. It’s like when you’re at your grandmother’s house and she would put one delicious cake after another on the plate and you simply can’t stop eating because it's so good.

Feeding would change their behavior

When you’re hand-feeding a kangaroo, the animal learns that it is ok to take food out of your hand. They can become greedy and when they see or smell something in other visitor’s hands they just help themselves. This could lead to dangerous situations and therefore it is often not allowed to feed kangaroos in large zoos. This allows zoos to keep those animals in a free-range area where they can interact with people without putting anyone in danger.

Does That Apply To Zoos In General?

I’ve compiled a list of zoos, animal sanctuaries or farms which let you hold, pet or feed kangaroos. You can find this list at the end of this page. For example, I’ve been to animal farms where they let you hold a joey but you’re not allowed to feed it.

Where You Can Feed And Pet Kangaroos

Click here to read this article on the best places where you can see, feed, and pat kangaroos in Sydney.

I couldn’t resist and wanted to know which place allows you to touch kangaroos or hold a joey in your hand. There are so many pictures out there where someone is holding an adorable joey in their hands (and I took one of them!).

When we’ve been to Western Australia my girlfriend and I randomly came across a little sanctuary where I took this picture. At that time I wasn’t brave enough to hold it in my hand. Now I regret it and want to know where it is possible to do that near Sydney.

I did a little research and found the Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside, Sydney. It’s a place in the western suburbs of Sydney and although it isn’t gigantic it offers a lot for kids and adults. In my opinion, it’s a place where you can get quite close to many animals and learn a lot about Australia’s wildlife.

Featherdale Wildlife Park is the place I found where you actually can get close to kangaroos and feed them. It's also the perfect place to get close to joeys and pet them. However, this unique experience comes at a certain price. It was $ 80 per adult and $ 60 per child when I researched it. But this price already included the general admission into Featherdale Wildlife Park. It’s a private encounter, so book it in advance. The encounter takes about 30 minutes, in my opinion, that’s a fair price. They sometimes do some specials, so you might get a better deal.

Is it worth the extra money? Well… I can’t speak for everyone, but if you’re into kangaroos and joeys its a great way to do something like that. Especially because you shouldn't touch or feed joeys or kangaroos in the wild. This controlled area is, therefore, a great place to do it without doing any harm to the animal.

Keep These Things In Mind When You Are Holding a Joey

In my opinion, you can’t do much wrong when you’re holding a joey. It’s like holding a baby and staff at a wildlife park will make sure you don’t make something stupid. They’ll tell you if you do. Just to be sure, I wrote down some of my best tips on how to hold a joey:

  • always stay calm
  • do not scream or shout

Please don’t try holding a kangaroo in the wild! A joey’s mother will not like it and may attack and hurt you. Kangaroos are very friendly animals and there are many zoos or farms where you can feed them. But there’s a difference in holding an animal and feeding it. If you try to hold a grown-up kangaroo it could seriously injure you, it will likely get you kicked.

Kangaroos are not very cuddly anyway. They are beautiful and impressive to look at, but their fur is definitely not known for its softness and you can feel their bones and muscles.

Other places I found where you can either feed, pet or hold a kangaroo

Australia

  • Denmark Animal Farm & Pentland Alpaca Stud, Denmark, Western Australia
  • Featherdale Wildlife Park, Doonside western Sydney, NSW
  • The Kangaroo Sanctuary, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
  • Australia Zoo, Beerwah, Queensland
  • Kuranda Koala Gardens, 40 minutes north west of Cairns, Queensland
  • Healesville Sanctuary - Badger Creek, Victoria
  • Moonlit Sanctuary, Pearcedale, Victoria
  • Maru Koala and Animal Park, Grantville, Victoria
  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Canada

  • Kangaroo Creek Farm, British Columbia

Is your favorite place not on this list? Email me and say hello: kangaroo@thefuture.at

What is a Joey?

A joey is a baby kangaroo. It weighs about 0.8 g after its birth. A joey then climbs into its mother's pouch although it's only the size of a jellybean. There, it attaches itself to one of four teats. A joey is heavily reliant on its mother for about 1.5 years.

Is Taronga Zoo Worth It?

Most Sydney attractions come at a price. Taronga Zoo is definitely no exception, but if you get something like a family ticket the price is quite affordable. Especially if you consider that you can spend hours in this place. You’ll see a fantastic world-class zoo in a beautiful setting.

The views are stunning.

In my opinion, it’s definitely among the top zoos in the world. But it’s not just the zoo, the experience already starts with a magnificent view over Sydney harbor when you take the ferry to Taronga. Although you can’t hold or feed a joey at Taronga zoo, it’s still a fantastic location with a great variety of animals, so I’d check it out if I was in Sydney. Especially if you have no other chance to see Australian animals. Additionally, you can get close to koalas if you pay a little extra money, I think that’s a great alternative to feeding and petting kangaroos.

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