What Pets Are Legal in California?

Numerous pets are legal in California unless a law or regulation specifically states that a species of animal is illegal to keep as a pet. California’s list of illegal pets is, however, one of the longest in the nation. Animals can be deemed illegal as pets in California because they are wild animals or because they could harm native wildlife or crops if they were released into the wild.

Many pets that are illegal in California are legal in other states. In general, any animal not specifically prohibited may be kept as a pet in California. Exotic animals that are permissible as pets in California include pygmy goats, miniature horses, potbelly pigs, tarantulas, lynxes, ball pythons and chinchillas.

According to SFGate, animals that are illegal as pets in California because they are threats to native wildlife include ferrets and African clawed frogs. Animals banned because they pose a danger to agriculture if released into the wild include monk parakeets.

Hedgehogs are among the pets that are illegal in California because they can pose a danger to their owners. Other such animals include tigers and other big cats, first generation wolf-dog hybrids, chimpanzees, caiman lizards, piranhas, bats, skunks, alligators and raccoons.

Other animals banned as pets in California for a variety of reasons include monkeys, sloths, anteaters, moles, lemurs, weasels, foxes, coyotes, bears, elephants, manatees, zebras, camels and deer.