What Types of Exotic Animals Are Legal to Own?


Quick Answer

In states that allow citizens to keep exotic animals as pets, some common choices include Burmese pythons, bearded dragons, ferret foxes, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and squirrels, according to Forbes. However, state laws about exotic animal ownership vary substantially, and a list of exotic animals that are legal to own in every state does not exist.

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Full Answer

Nearly two dozen states forbid exotic pets, including New Hampshire, Vermont and California, explains Forbes. As of 2015, pet owners spend $10 billion annually on the black market purchase of exotic animals and exotic animal parts, and injuries from these unregulated animals, such as Siberian tigers and chimpanzees, do occur.

While some states ban exotic animal ownership altogether, many states impose restrictions, notes Born Free USA. Restrictions range from a partial ban that allows citizens to keep some exotic animals as pets to a license requirement to allowing any animal with some regulations, such as a veterinary certificate.

In some ways, owning a tiger is easier than owning a native animal where exotic animal ownership is legal, reports WisconsinWatch.org. While many states require licenses and vaccinations when adopting a cat or dog, such a mandate is not in place for exotic animals. Even within states that do not have laws restricting the keeping of exotic animals, such as Wisconsin, different municipalities within the state impose restrictions.

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