This Exotic Pet Is Legal in Your State - PetHelpful - By fellow animal lovers and experts
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This Exotic Pet Is Legal in Your State

Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a bachelor's degree in biology.

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You might have heard from someone that exotic pets or so-called "wild animals" are illegal to own as pets, but this is exactly like saying it is illegal to hunt animals—it's not exactly true. We know, of course, that it depends on which animal you are talking about (and when). Some animals require specific permits to hunt, and these rules vary by each state. Exotic animal laws are similar in that you might need a license to own them and that the rules vary from state to state. The fact is that no one state technically bans all animals that fall under the exotic or even "wild" designation. With the exception of Hawaii, a group of small islands that has an exceptionally fragile ecosystem, all states allow a high number of reptiles and birds. But when most people assume "exotic" pets are illegal, they are often thinking about mammals, and that’s when the restrictions begin to pour in.

While some of these animals are banned for silly reasons (I'm looking at you and your stance on ferrets, California), some of these animals are banned for good reasons: amateur pet owners don't have the experience to properly care for these undomesticated animals. Finding a vet who can treat a rabbit can be hard enough. Can you imagine finding one who can treat a tiger?

All photos, unless otherwise stated, are from Tambako the Jaguar Via Flickr

All photos, unless otherwise stated, are from Tambako the Jaguar Via Flickr

There are numerous—and rather ridiculous—bans on exotic mammals as pets in most states. All states prohibit the ownership of something, whether it’s a restriction on native species or exotics. Still, there are some species you’d be surprised that are still legal even if you think your state bans exotic animals, which is often stated by groups like The Humane Society of the United States or Born Free. What is one of the more interesting species you can privately own in your state?

For the purposes of this article, the term "exotic" shall refer to anything unusual, such as an animal you won't find in traditional pet stores or farms, not non-native animals.

Note: The point of this article is to list at least one interesting pet that is legal in each state; therefore, the list is far from comprehensive ,and laws change all the time. This article should not be used as a source to determine what pet is legal in your state. Laws vary based on city and county ordinances as well. So you'll want to do your own independent research.

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Alabama: Tigers

In Alabama, you cannot possess any member of Cervidae (deer). You also can't have foxes, raccoons, or skunks—but you can own big cats like tigers. Just be sure not to cross state lines with the animal or to import one from another state, as the Federal Endangered Species Act forbids it. Alabama is one of four states (along with Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin) that doesn't have laws regulating wild cats.

Before you commit to a tiger, know that...

  • Tigers usually live about 26 years in captivity and the wild.
  • Tigers are obligate carnivores (meaning they cannot survive on plant matter).
  • They need about 15 pounds of meat per day to sustain themselves.
  • They're dangerous and can kill you. Though they might look cute and be cuddly for a time, they're apex predators, and they're not domesticated. So you'd be taking a big risk by trying to have one as a pet.
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Alaska: Chimpanzees (Until Recently)

Very surprisingly, while Alaska had laws banning non-human primates there was an exemption for chimpanzees, the most difficult and dangerous primate to own of all. But that changed in 2010. Now the state has some of the strictest bans on animals in the U.S. Now only toucans, "non-feral" ungulates like bison, elk, camels, reindeer, and oxen, and hedgehogs are the most 'exotic' animals that remain legal. The legal animals are listed, and all others are prohibited. The Alaska state legislature kindly expounds on which animals you can and can't own. You'll notice that 5 AAC 92.029. Permit section c specifically disallows chimps. Fortunately, you can still own a reindeer (as long as it isn't wild), a single-humped camel, a toucan, or an elk—and you don't even need a permit for these!

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Arizona: Wolfdogs

The state bans many, many animals as pets as per R12-4-406 Restricted Live Wildlife of the state's administrative code, including but certainly not limited to chipmunks (all squirrels), prairie dogs, deer, foxes, sloths, opossums, bats, nonhuman primates, and anteaters. Surprisingly, it allows wolfdogs (also known as "wolf hybrids") while prohibiting all other animals other than dogs and cats in the carnivora order. Although it sounds like a wolfdog might be "partially domesticated," a true wolfdog would be indistinguishable to the average person from a "pure wolf." In fact, many zoos exhibit these wolfdogs as "wolves." Therefore, to a non-expert, these animals are essentially wolves, and they are definitely not less dangerous than "pure" wolves (if anything, they're perhaps more dangerous than purebreds).

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Arkansas: Coyotes

If you want to own pets that are native to your state, pack your bags and move to Arkansas where you can own native animals such as bobcats, foxes, raccoons, and coyotes. (Yet you can't own an alligator...) However, only six of these animals per household is allowed (Section 15.41). And you cannot buy or import foxes, they must be rescued from the wild or given to you.

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California: Savannah Cats

Exotic pet owners dread this state because it has some of the strictest exotic animals laws out there. This is a state that bans ferrets under the guise of protecting the environment—even though its inhabitants regularly defy the law, and invasive ferrets have not been observed. Don’t come to California unless you’re only interested in birds and reptiles. But surprisingly, while many states prohibit them, all generations of Savannah cats (a domesticated cat and serval hybrid) and wolfdogs that are not first generation are allowed.

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Colorado: Kangaroos and Wallabies

This is another frowny-face state if you are an exotic enthusiast. Colorado is a good example of a state where exotics are supposedly not allowed, but you can still keep very exotic animals like the iconic kangaroo, wallaroo, or wallaby. You can also own a possum, a sugar glider, and a hedgehog if you like.

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Connecticut: Patagonian Mara

There was a famous exotic-pet-related incident where a chimpanzee name Travis severely mauled his caretaker’s friend, but that animal was grandfathered in, as primates acquired before October 1st, 2010 are considered okay. "The Hominidae, including, but not limited to, the gorilla, chimpanzee and orangutan" are currently banned.

Connecticut’s bans are also extensive and ridiculous. Getting an exemption as a licensed exhibitor or educational facility is difficult. Almost all interesting exotic pets are banned, including hybrids such as a wolfdog or a savannah cat. Though the text is perhaps ambiguous, Connecticut's state code says that people cannot own more than one of the following without a game breeder's license (which implies that you can own one of these legally): a partridge (pear tree optional), an otter, a beaver, or a raccoon. Patagonian mara are large rodents that look like deer.

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Delaware: Possums

Any animal not native to Delaware needs a permit (State Code 721). The state veterinarian gets to decide if such a permit will be issued based on the species' potential to be injurious or damaging to the environment. Exempted species are "Chinchillas, Degus, Ferrets, Gerbils, Guinea pigs, Hamsters, Hedgehogs, Mice, Norway rats, Possums, Rabbits and Sugar gliders" (6.1.1).

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Florida: Marmosets

In Florida, animals are grouped by class 1, class 2, and class 3 designations, with class 1 animals requiring the most qualifications to acquire. Class 1 includes tigers, bears, and chimpanzees—and they cannot be "pets." Marmosets are tiny monkeys that are class 3 wildlife, and a permit to own them in Florida is pretty easy to get. All you have to do is answer some questions on the free application about the animal’s care, what you would do in event of an emergency, and your knowledge of the species. Before you commit to owning a marmoset though, you should know that they're really needy and require a lot of attention. They're not a good "just leave it be" pet.

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Georgia: Bison

Georgia considers nearly every exotic animal to be "inherently dangerous" regardless of whether or not that is actually true. For instance, wallabies and non-domesticated rabbits are on the list that require a permit, and it's not clear if this permit is obtainable by your average pet owner. However, in the order Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates), bison (which actually are dangerous), water buffalo, and llamas are exempted, probably because they are seen as livestock. You can also, with a permit, own an alligator, a crocodile, various primates, and even bears—all of which are rather dangerous!

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Hawaii: Peafowl

Only several birds and aquarium-dwelling species are legal exotic pets in this unique state, with peafowl (a.k.a peacocks and peahens) being considered poultry. The list of mammals legal to import into the islands consists of guinea pigs, chinchillas, rabbits, mice and rats. No hamsters, snakes, ferrets, and gerbils are allowed. The reason? These animals have the potential to become an out-of-control invasive species in the island’s climate, just like the always-legal domesticated cat that people are even permitted to let free roam. When it comes to banning pets due to environmental concerns, an animal’s popularity can cancel out any level of damage said species causes.

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Idaho and Illinois: Deer

In Idaho, wildlife is defined as any animal generally living in a state of nature except, domestic bison, domestic cervidae, domestic fur bearing animals, and fish. So if you follow importation rules, you can own elk, fallow deer, and reindeer. Most other exotics require a possession permit, and it isn’t clear how easy this is to get.

All cervidae appears to be legal to possess in Illinois with only entry permits and health screening required to import them into the state, as they are considered livestock. It seems as though the (720 ILCS 585/) Illinois Dangerous Animals Act, which detailed animal-owning criminal offenses, was repealed by P.A. 97-1108. So, what you can and can't own there (or, at least, what you'll get in trouble for owning) is a bit more muddled.

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Indiana: Bears

Unlike many of the other states, Indiana has a really straight forward definition of what a wild animal is: if it lives in the wild or isn't domesticated, it's a wild animal (IC 14-8-2-318). Like Florida, Indiana sorts permit-requiring animals into three categories:

  • Class I: These animals aren't harmful to people. Examples include rabbits and squirrels.
  • Class II: These animals might be harmful to people. Examples include raccoons, pallas cats (Google these adorable creatures if you don't know what they are), skunks, and more.
  • Class III: These animals are definitely dangerous. Examples include purebred wolves, bears, and crocodiles.

Hybrids of domestic dogs and cats don't require permits. So if you want a bear, you're going to have to get a permit.

Iowa: Skunks

The usual suspects are all unreasonably banned in this state without a permit. To acquire such a permit, many rules apply, such as implanting a tracking device, maintaining insurance, paying fees (usually between $50-100), and undergoing inspections. However, skunks are legal as long as they are captive bred. Skunkhaven advises that you save your receipt to prove that your skunk isn't wild caught.

Kansas: Kinkajou

Iowa says that dangerous animals include lions, tigers, or bears. You're unlikely to get a permit to own them as an everyday person. While dangerous wild animals are regulated, but there is no mention of this unusual relative of the raccoon, which often slips through the cracks due to being unknown.

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Kentucky: Raccoons

Raccoons are illegal in most states because they are rabies vectors, but Kentucky is one of the exceptions. However, raccoons cannot be imported over state lines, so the animal must come from within the state.

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Louisiana: Genets

This state, like most, bans large carnivores and the list can be found in section 76 of Louisiana's administrative code. It includes wolves, bears, and specific exotic felines as well as primates. The family viverridae is not listed, so this might technically mean civets and genets are legal. Genets are small mammals that have a fox-like nose and face, with a car-like body and a lemur-like tail. Genets are opportunistic eaters that don't particularly care for being held or smothered with affection, though they will bond with an owner in a single-animal household.

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Maine: Sugar Glider

Maine is a horrendous state for exotic pet owners, and the restrictions on pets are as extreme as they are indefensible. This northernmost state on the mainland boasts a climate that very few animals could survive in, yet it has a very small list of mammals (gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, mice, rats, guniae pigs, chinchillas, ferrets, sugar gliders, degus) that do not require a permit. Achieving a permit in Maine is said to be near impossible. Reptiles are confined to select species as well.

As of 2018, almost the entirety of Title 12, Chapter 707: LICENSES AND PERMITS, which was where Maine defined what you could and couldn't get permits for, has been repealed. Because they've been repealed, the original text of the laws is no longer accessible on their website.

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Maryland: Tamandua

This South American anteater is not listed on Maryland's highly inclusive list of banned animals, which includes raccoons, foxes, skunks, primates, felines other than domesticated cats, and alligators.

I'm legal? Really!?

I'm legal? Really!?

Massachusetts: Flying Squirrel

It's easier to talk about what pets you can have in Massachusetts because the list of animals that you can't have is very long. The exemptions include the most typical pets but also hedgehogs and flying squirrels.

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Michigan: Red Fox (Domesticated)

Many are unaware that fur-farm foxes are considered domesticated; however, they're not domesticated in the way that Russian domesticated foxes have been experimentally bred as house pets. "Wild" foxes are not legal, but domesticated foxes in Michigan are legal as long as you obtain a health certificate.

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Minnesota: African Crested Porcupine

Prohibited animals appear to be exclusively defined as primates, non-domesticated felines including hybrids, and bears. Rabies-vector laws or native animal prohibitions may possibly restrict skunks, raccoons, and foxes. Exotic rodents, however, should be legal under these rules. And porcupines are classified as rodents. There are mixed reviews about how they are as pets. Some people really like them, others wouldn't have another as a pet.

Fun fact: a baby porcupine is called a "porcupette."

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Mississippi: Servals

Inherently dangerous members from the family felidae are defined as big cats, snow leopards, cheetah, and cougars. This does not include felines like servals, caracals, and jungle cats.

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Missouri: Opossum

All you need to do is obtain a Wildlife Hobby Permit. That (and Missouri's admin code) authorizes you to hold no more than one red or grey fox, coyote, beaver, river otter, Eastern grey squirrel, bobcat, badger, or opossum for personal use.

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Montana: Two-Toed Sloth

Montana has three categorizations: uncontrolled species, controlled species that require a permit, and prohibited species. Strangely enough, uncontrolled species that can be traded and possessed freely with no permit include pygmy hedgehogs, degus, jungle cats, servals, sugar gliders, two-toed sloths, Bennet's and Tammar wallabies.

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Nebraska: Eland

This state specifically allows genets, elands, elk, fox, jerboa, and reindeer to be imported, but you can only have one.

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Nevada: Elephants

Nevada bans some aquatic species, all foxes, some other native species, and some reptiles. Everything else goes! Wolves, big cats, primates, elephants, ect. The state, home of Siegfried and Roy, has a large animal entertainment industry with many private owners as well as a reluctance against governmental overreach, and this might be the reason these laws have survived for so long.

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New Hampshire: Ostrich

This large African bird is on the non-controlled species list in New Hampshire. They can grow up to nine feet tall, usually weigh around 400 pounds, and are known to be aggressive and territorial. They're not for the faint of heart. The state lists many species as controlled including genets, wallabies, and anteaters.

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New Jersey: Skunk

It is highly unusual for a state in the northeast, but raccoons and skunks, both prominent rabies vectors, are legal if they are purchased from a licensed breeder and if you obtain a captive game permit.

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New Mexico: Munjac Deer

I can only confirm that it is unlawful for a person to possess non-domesticated felines, primates, crocodiles, alligators, and wolves in New Mexico (19.35.7). The state may allow other animals under difficult conditions. One source states that deer are legal without a permit. One small popular pet deer species is the muntjac.

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New York: Fennec Fox

While exotic pet circles consider New York to be a "ban state," many non-native animals like wallabies, kinkajous, and sloths are most likely legal because they are not a member of the families that are prohibited: ursidae (bears), felidae (wild cats), canidae (wild canines), and primates. Fennec foxes are the only non-domesticated member of canidae because owners of the tiny foxes lobbied for them and brought them to meet legislators while they conceptualized the bill. This proves that common sense can enter the brains of elected officials when looking at the harmless animal in the flesh.

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North Carolina: Lions

If you want to keep a fennec fox or domesticated skunk without a USDA license in North Carolina, you're out of luck. The tiny animals are considered rabies vectors (despite these pets never having been found with rabies), but you can have a lion, tiger, bear, and numerous other species as long as you live in a county that doesn't prohibit it.

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North Dakota: Russian Lynx

Russian lynx, along with emu, ostrich, ranch foxes, ferrets, and others, are considered to be domesticated and "alternative livestock." They require no license and the owner only needs to comply with health requirements such as being screened for certain diseases by a vet.

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Ohio: Bobcats

After an unstable man (not Federer, the man mentioned below) freed several exotic animals, Ohio went from an extremely lenient exotic-pet state to much more restrictive. Federer, a man who owned a bobcat, argued that his bobcat was literally a housecoat in Federer vs. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. A loophole currently exempts bobcats from the ban on other felidae species and lemurs are still legal among primates.

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Oklahoma: Coatimundi

It's likely that many more exotic animals, possibly even large animals like bears, are legal in Oklahoma, which is the foe of animal rights organizations who want more regulations (i.e. bans) for exotic animals. However Oklahoma's admin code exempts civets, kangaroos, primates, and coatimundis (a South African raccoon-esque mammal) from all permit and license requirements.

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Oregon: Zebras

This state used to be somewhat exotic friendly, but then they stopped issuing permits to pet owners. They categorize exotic animals, and you need to call to find out what the law is. But all equidae, including zebras, are legal and just needs a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection when imported.

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Pennsylvania: Rattlesnakes

If you obtain an annual permit, you can keep timber rattlesnakes and northern copperheads captured from the wild. The snakes must also be at least 42 inches in length, having 21 or more subcaudal scales.

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Rhode Island: Burmese Python

Burmese pythons are illegal in many states due to their size (15-20 feet) but are not listed as being illegal here (3.17/4/b/2/AA). In fact, Rhode Island law specifically allows for most species of boas and pythons.

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South Carolina: Venomous Snakes

South Carolina is one of the nation’s only states that allows the sale and purchase of venomous snakes at reptile shows.

South Dakota: Coyotes

With a permit, you can possess or import any non-domestic mammal or any hybrids thereof of the following orders: carnivora, exotic felidae, canidae, ursidae (bears) mustelidae, and hyaenidae, and various hoofed animals.

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Tennessee: Capuchin Monkeys

Some species in Tennessee are illegal to possess, such as bats, skunks, and owls. Others, like flying squirrels, bobcats, native mice, and native chipmunks require a TWRA permit. The species that do not require a permit surprisingly include capuchin monkeys, caimans, giraffes, and sea otters.

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Texas: Lemurs

Potential owners of "dangerous wild animals" (which includes bears, big cats, and great apes) need to obtain a certificate of registration for that animal issued by an animal registration agency (Texas Health and Safety Code 822.101). Many other rules apply. There are many animals in Texas that are perfectly legal, however, and they include capybaras, lemurs, genets, and small wild felids.

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Utah: Mink

Ranch-raised American mink (Neovison vision) are allowed to be owned, along with other species.

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Vermont: Agouti

Agoutis are a relatively large South American rodent. They're related to guinea pigs and look quite similar, but agoutis have stretched-looking legs. All species are on Vermont's unrestricted species list.

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Virginia: Domesticated Silver Fox

Virginia does not allow any foxes other than those that have fur patterns not found in the wild. This means pet foxes cannot be red, even if they are domesticated. The fur is how the animal is distinguished from a non-fur farm animal.

*UPDATE: Virginia banned all foxes in 2017.

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Washington: Caracal

Potentially dangerous animals in the family felidae are described as "only lions, tigers, captive-bred cougars, jaguars, cheetahs, leopards, snow leopards, and clouded leopards." Caracals are big cats, but the text of the law reads "only," which insinuates that the caracal should be fine to own. (But I'm not an attorney. If you're thinking about owning one, it's best to call the appropriate governing agency and check.)

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West Virginia: Cougar

West Virginia recently enacted regulations for "dangerous wild animals" that allow people to apply for permits to keep them. Animals that aren't the following can be kept as pets: coyotes, minks, weasels, muskrats, beavers, opossums, polecats, otters, red and gray foxes, skunks, bobcat, fishers, and raccoons.

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Wisconsin: Porcupine

Wisconsin specifically names chipmunks, pocket gophers, mice, moles, opossums, porcupines, rats, voles, ground squirrels, red squirrels, and weasels as legal to possess without a license.

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Wyoming: Bear

All bears appear to be legal according to Wyoming's exotic animal code except grizzly and black bears. Mountain lions are also named as legal while other big cats are not.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Where is a ball python illegal?

Answer: Ball pythons are illegal in Hawaii.

Question: Can I own a peacock in Virginia?

Answer: Yes. Peacocks are legal in all fifty states.

Question: Can you own a toucan in Georgia?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Can I own an otter in Arizona?

Answer: No.

Question: Does Pennsylvania allow you to own a Prevost squirrel? Or any type of squirrel?

Answer: Not really. Their permits are hard to get.

Question: I want a Serval and I live in New Mexico. Is there a permit I can obtain?

Answer: Exotic cats are banned in New Mexico.

Question: Can you have a lemur in Washington?

Answer: No, primates are banned.

Question: Can I own a red Carnivora in Arizona?

Answer: Owning a Carnivora is illegal in Arizona.

Question: Can I own a red-billed hornbill in Indiana?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Can I own an owl or wolf in New York state?

Answer: No wolves. The only owls you can own are non-native owls, unless you train as a falconer.

Question: Can you own a Koala Bear in Michigan?

Answer: No one has a Koala except about two zoos in the U.S.

Question: In what states can you own a regular squirrel?

Answer: Arkansas is one.

Question: can you on an owl in North Carolina?

Answer: Yes, if it is non-native.

Question: Can you own a Capybara in Maine?

Answer: No.

Question: Can you own a sloth as a pet in North Carolina?

Answer: Yes, in a county with no bans.

Question: Can I own a serval in Florida?

Answer: You need a Class 2 permit.

Question: Can you own a koala as a pet in North Dakota?

Answer: No one can own a koala anywhere.

Question: Can you own a cougar in California?

Answer: No, all exotic carnivores are illegal in California, as well as most mammals in general.

Question: Are kinkajous legal in Texas?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Is the family Viverridae banned in NY state?

Answer: I don't think so. I had a genet there for a few years.

Question: Can I own a Geoffrey's cat in Pennsylvania?

Answer: No.

Question: Can you own a prairie dog in California?

Answer: No.

Question: Can I own a kangaroo in Florida?

Answer: Yes, with a permit.

Question: Can you own an otter in New York?

Answer: No. Otters are illegal to possess in New York under their fur-bearing laws as far as I know.

Question: Are fennec foxes legal in California?

Answer: Fenenc foxes are NOT legal in California nor are any other foxes.

Question: Can I own a Tanuki in Michigan?

Answer: They are illegal in the United States.

Question: Can I own a Penguin in Illinois?

Answer: No, no one can own Penguins without running some type of zoo facility.

Question: Are parrots legal to own in California?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Can I own a coati in PA?

Answer: Not really, no. Most mammals require permits, and they are nearly impossible to get.

Question: Can I own a koala?

Answer: No one can own koalas anywhere.

Question: Can I own a Lemur in the state of Georgia? I'm seeing different sources saying it is and others saying it is not.

Answer: No, Georgia has very extensive bans on nearly all exotics, unfortunately. https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ga-exotic-pets-...

Question: Can I own a pine marten in Florida?

Answer: Yes, with a permit.

Question: Can you have a pet otter in West Virginia?

Answer: No.

Question: Can you own a bat in New Hampshire?

Answer: Probably not.

Question: Can I own a toucan in Wyoming?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Can I own a ringtail cat in Arizona?

Answer: No.

Question: Can you own an otter in North Carolina?

Answer: Yes, Asian clawed otters.

Question: Can I own a green anaconda or Burmese python in New York state?

Answer: They are illegal.

Question: Can I own an otter in Utah?

Answer: If you can get a Certificate of Registration, then yes. But I am not sure if they give them to pet owners.

Question: Can I own an alligator in New Hampshire?

Answer: No.

Question: Can you have a sloth in new hamshire?

Answer: No, the most exotic animal allowed is a tenrec. Most non-controlled species are traditional pets and birds.

Question: Can you own a mink in Virginia?

Answer: Probably not.

Question: Can you own a pig as a pet in Michigan?

Answer: Yes. Check your local zoning regulations.

Question: Can I own a pet skunk in NC?

Answer: No, native mammals are not legal to own as pets in North Carolina.

Question: Can I own a Toucan in Oregon?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Can you own a lemur in Georgia?

Answer: No.

Comments

DB on August 30, 2020:

What types of birds are allowed in Louisiana

Ruby Frank on August 28, 2020:

can I get a pet galago/bushbaby in Iowa,Ia???

NK on August 15, 2020:

And if you decide to say something please know what you're talking about and have common sense. I know it may seem stupid for me to have to say that but you won't believe some people who just won't listen to anybody.

NK on August 15, 2020:

everyone please do your research before going out and buying an exotic animal. They may seem cool and cute at first, but most of them can be potentially dangerous and confiscated if you're not careful. Almost all exotic animals are a TON of work to take care of and are extremely complicated. If you think you can get one and tame it, you might be able to, but keep in mind that 1) it will definitely take a long time, 2) they might never trust you at all, and 3) even if you do tame it, they still will have their natural instincts that can kick in at any random moment, for example if you have an undomesticated cat and lets say you trip, that cats natural instincts can kick in and it could very well kill you. Final thing I'm going to say is if you get one and realize you aren't willing to invest the time, resources, and energy, and decide to get rid of it, it will probably go to somewhere where they will slowly die or get euthanized, best case scenario is they go to a rescue where they turn out to be someone else's problem. There are also many other reasons why you shouldn't get one depending on species, state, etc. if you think about everything, and you're willing to spend thousands of dollars, never go on a vacation, etc. then they can be very interesting and amazing "pets." If you're not willing to dedicate a huge part of your life to an exotic animal but still want a pet, I got good news for you, dogs, cats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, other small mammals, redtail boas, and other non venomous snakes(except for retics, anacondas, rock pythons, etc.)lizards like a black throat monitor, tegus, even a bearded dragon make absolutely fantastic pets, they are still quite "exotic," and are much more rewarding. Good luck with whatever you do. and please do your research. :)

Rudra Patel on August 05, 2020:

Can I own a Capybara in New Jeresy please I like Capybaras and exotic pets . I also want a dwarf caiman.

Cloud on August 04, 2020:

I would like to know more options for Washington, please.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on August 01, 2020:

Yeet: Yes

Nevaeh on July 28, 2020:

I want to own a lot of exotic animals but i don't know what one I can in washington.

Ty on July 26, 2020:

Can I own a mink without a license in Oklahoma

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 26, 2020:

Polar bear: I don't know, call them.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 26, 2020:

Lena: Most likely yes.

Polar bear on July 24, 2020:

Is it legal to own a capybara in Kentucky

Lena on July 22, 2020:

Can someone tell me if prairie dogs are legal in Illinois? I rlly want one

ky on July 04, 2020:

in what states is legal to have a pet chinchilla

Perry on June 20, 2020:

Can I own 100,000,000 frogs in nj

gracie on June 16, 2020:

can i own a possum or opossum in massachusetts?

june on May 31, 2020:

can you have a lemur In VA

Kirsten on May 12, 2020:

Are Sugar Gliders legal in Nevada?

Landon on April 30, 2020:

Can i own an alligator in iowa

Emily on April 27, 2020:

Are fennec foxes aloud in Utah?

aidan on April 21, 2020:

I really want a gorilla but if I got one my mom would FREAK out.

Lucy on April 19, 2020:

Are hedgehogs, pythons, chinchillas, turtles, cockatoos, ferrets, skunks, chameleons, capybaras or pigs, legal to own in washington state?.

Yeet on April 16, 2020:

Am I allowed to own a toucan in colorado?

Splashstorm on March 25, 2020:

Those animals (foxes, ringtails, deer, bats, native opossums, raccoons, skunks, African clawed frogs and bobcats) are legal with a USDA permit. Which I will definitely get if it's an animal I want! Out of that list though, only the raccoon interests me.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 24, 2020:

debbie L. I don't see why I shouldn't. Let people own what they are equipped to care for.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 24, 2020:

Splashstorm Foxes, ringtails, deer, bats, native opossums, raccoons, skunks, African clawed frogs and bobcats aren't legal in NC.

Corina Clem on March 18, 2020:

Can you own a kinkajou in MI?

debbie L. on March 16, 2020:

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I do not think most exotics should be kept as pets. They belong in the wild. Some are stolen from the wild and it can endanger the species. Some require a LOT of care and specialized diets, housing, etc. OK, I get that people want them, I love animals and some of the exotics are so interesting, but, for example, I refrained from getting a primate I wanted cause I felt I could Not give the quality life it deserved, or the attention. A lot of exotics just done do well in captivity. So, I will stay with domesticated animals like dogs or cats. And so many dogs/cats are sitting in shelters, discarded, in kill shelters, etc. They need homes. I do think your article was interesting, well done and trying to be a responsible source. So many pet owners already abuse or neglect regular pets, and exotics are harder to deal with and might be short changed in captivity. IMHO. Thanks for listening.

Michael on March 14, 2020:

You can own peafowl almost anywhere

Splashstorm on March 09, 2020:

I'm moving to North Carolina b/c in Wilson, NC, ALL species are legal as of 2020.

Noah on February 21, 2020:

can i legally buy a raccoon and import it into tennessee?

Sadie on January 27, 2020:

Can you have a beaver in Maine

amber on January 15, 2020:

what about Puerto Rico can i own a Bannana snake, emerald snake, and demestic sliver fox?

yo yo yo on January 07, 2020:

where can i have a flamingo or parakeet

Hi on December 30, 2019:

You can own a camel in Kentucky without a permit

Hailey on December 07, 2019:

Say i wanted a fox or python can i have either in oklahoma

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on November 28, 2019:

Clint Holt They should be legal.

Clint Holt on November 24, 2019:

I am in Oregon, but moving to Texas 2021. Any issues with owning a binturong?

Susan Belski on November 20, 2019:

I own 2 guinea pigs. I definitely hope they never become illegal!

Mike on October 27, 2019:

Can I legally own a Fennec fox in WEST VIRGINIA?

Jack on October 06, 2019:

i wish i could get a crocodile or alligator in virginia...

Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on October 03, 2019:

I hope that people in Tennessee treat their monkey friends well. They are literally close relatives. Treat them like family. Be good to primates.

Gary L Gaddie on October 03, 2019:

Where can I find a finger monkey for sale in Texas?

Hunter Sikes on October 01, 2019:

Can i have a pudu in texas

Max on September 10, 2019:

What animals can I own in Tennessee

Steve on September 09, 2019:

Can I have a Prairie Dog in Illinois?

Thank You

Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on September 01, 2019:

Penguins are awesome.

Michelle on August 31, 2019:

Can I own a penguin?

Dianna on August 29, 2019:

l live in Central NY and I was wondering if lemurs are allowed here as pets

Sharon on August 22, 2019:

I live in New Jersey and I would like to get a Capuchin Monkey. I need to know if it is illegal to have one. I live in Pitman New Jersey 08071

Lan on August 21, 2019:

Can you have a pet sugar glider in va

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on August 18, 2019:

No, only fennec foxes are legal in NYS.

Neva Orlov on August 14, 2019:

Can I have any breed of Fox in New York

Mike shetter on July 09, 2019:

Can i get a kamodo dragon in New Mexico?

niallaabrams@gmail.com on July 08, 2019:

Can you own a Wolfdog or a Kinkajou in the State of Delaware?

Courtnielove@yahoo.com on July 05, 2019:

You can not own a raccoon in ky.

Jessica on July 01, 2019:

Nowhere should allow Tigars, rattlesnakes, Burmese pythons, or lions as pets! As these animals are deadly

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 22, 2019:

Thouwhogivesashit: You didn't really manage to say anything of substance. "Polluted with disgusting greed" means nothing. None of the Northeastern states where some exotic pets are legal have any issues them or 'greed pollution'. So you are just whining about nothing.

Sam on June 18, 2019:

For the feildas family it doesn't include but its illegal to own class a mammalians or order Carnivora these both include cacarcal

Thouwhogivesashit on June 13, 2019:

As a Mainer, I am so thankful that we have "a horrendous state for exotic pet owners." This is why our state has not been polluted with disgusting greed or has not seen all the consequences of personal gain by using exotic animals as a symbol of status. Seriously, i am horrified reading this article and wish more states could realize the importance of keeping wild animals safe in their environment.

Alina on June 09, 2019:

What exotic animals can you own in new mexico?

Rexa on June 01, 2019:

You can have some exotic pets with a permit

Aa on May 03, 2019:

Are sloths legal in wyoming with a permit?

Cuz on April 08, 2019:

Can you own a dwarf caiman in Washington State

CJ on April 06, 2019:

Is the Ohio man's bobcat "literally a housecoat", tho?

raven on March 31, 2019:

can you own a wallaby in texas

Andy on March 29, 2019:

Can you own a degu in Pennsylvania

Jake on March 28, 2019:

Can I own an otter or fox in Louisiana?

Ivy on March 18, 2019:

Can you own a fennec fox in Illionois?

Kacey on March 16, 2019:

Can you own a red fox in New York?

Gail on March 10, 2019:

can you own a prarie dog or sugar glider in NC?

Hunter on March 02, 2019:

Can I own an Emu in Louisiana

Gail on March 01, 2019:

can I have a pet capybara in New Jersey?

Shane on February 27, 2019:

Can I have a pet owl in New York State

Whitney on February 27, 2019:

Is it possible to own a pet racoon in Virginia?

Demaris7 on February 17, 2019:

Is it legal to have Capybara in Oregon?

please anser on February 17, 2019:

can i have a fennec in colton california

Apologies Overdue on January 27, 2019:

Can I have a pet crow in Illinois?

Jules on January 18, 2019:

Can I have a domesticated fox in Louisiana

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on December 16, 2018:

Sequoia Yes but you need a permit.

Sequoia on December 14, 2018:

Can you have an arctic fox in Tennessee

Faith on December 11, 2018:

Can you get an Asian small clawed otter in the state of Georgia as a pet?

foxy on November 29, 2018:

Asian small clawed otter in flordia :3

My name here on November 27, 2018:

Can you have a dodo in California or Nevada

Terra on October 25, 2018:

I am an exotic animal Educator and I can confirm that in Utah you also may own a Domesticated Red fox as long as it does not look like it's wild variant. (Can't be red)

PeggySue on September 10, 2018:

You should correct your post for Arkansas. You can buy a fox from a USDA breeder as well as import from out of state. Though there are 19 states that are prohibited from importing.

Gabriel Gilbert on September 09, 2018:

Can you own a minx in va

bob on August 17, 2018:

can you own a mink in ny

Jason Gonzalez on July 29, 2018:

Can I get the number or web address of the guy who breeds bobcats, that is gonna be AWESOME!

Taylor on July 23, 2018:

Sorry I misread it

Taylor on July 23, 2018:

False. You may own a bobcat in Tennessee. I know a reputable USDA breeder who can legally sell them.

Mallory on July 09, 2018:

In What states are you allowed to own a caracal??

madison on May 14, 2018:

can you have a capybara in iowa?

samantha on May 10, 2018:

where is it legal to own a wallaby? Is it legal in New Jersey?

S on April 09, 2018:

What can you own in Durham?

kid on March 26, 2018:

can you own a crab fox in california north?

Gem on March 20, 2018:

can you have a Arctic fox as a pet in New Jersey

Alice redheart on February 15, 2018:

I want a deer but I don't live in the place were I can own one

Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on December 18, 2017:

Milly/Melissa; if I had the money, then I'd buy a place in Florida. I love those animals! ^_^

Carolyn Leigh Brown on December 18, 2017:

All those animals should have wild kratts episodes