Exotic Animal Laws by State


Every state has different exotic pet laws. In some locations, you can have a pet squirrel or kangaroo while other places you can’t have a pet bunny. Some states specify regarding what animals they restrict while others enable anything to be kept as a pet.

Find out what your state’s exotic pet laws are here with these exotic pet law summaries but be sure to double check with your local government before getting your pet to make sure the laws haven’t altered.

While these are the state laws, there may likewise be local, city, and county laws that also use. Laws are also subject to change. See the BornFreeUSA.org list of state laws and their list of pending legislation by state.

Alabama Exotic Pet Laws

No one can have, sell, or import fish from the genus Clarias or Serrasalmus, Black carp, any types of mongoose, any member of the family Cervidae (deer, elk, moose, caribou), any species of coyote, fox, raccoon, skunk, wild rodents, or wild turkey. There are no licenses or licenses required for ownership of exotic animals.

Alaska Exotic Pet Laws

Wild cat (Jaguar) as pet in US

No one can have, sell, import or export live game animals (any types of bird, mammal, or reptile, consisting of a feral domestic animal, found or introduced in the state, except local birds and mammals). This limitation includes wolf hybrids possessed after Jan. 23, 2002. The state also defines all non-domestic animals consisting of wild cats, wild dogs, bear, and primates as “live game.”

Arizona Exotic Pet Laws

Restricted wildlife includes all non-domestic dogs and cats, primates (other than non-infant primates that are devoid of zoonotic disease), alligators, crocodiles, toxic snakes and more. Unique permits can be provided to particular people or groups to keep these animals if the request falls under categories for education, public health, business photography, wildlife rehabilitation, or wildlife management. Otherwise, they are prohibited from owning as pets.

Arkansas Exotic Pet Laws

Large carnivores (lions, tigers, and bears) are prohibited from owning. There is likewise a limit of 6 animals per owner for bobcats, squirrels, bunnies, raccoons, quail, opossum, coyote, deer, red fox, and gray fox. Ownership of an animal gotten in another state must reveal confirmation it was lawfully obtained.

California Exotic Pet Laws

To be brief, no wild animals are permitted to be kept as pets in California. This consists of all non-domestic canines and cats, elephants, crocodiles, and more.

Colorado Exotic Pet Laws

Colorado does not enable unique animals to be kept as pets; however you can keep some native reptiles, and what the state considers unregulated wildlife which includes sugar gliders, hedgehogs, kangaroos, and more.

Connecticut Exotic Pet Laws

This state limits potentially hazardous animals. Bears, big cats, and primates are included in the list of prohibited animals to own in this small state.

Delaware Exotic Pet Laws

This state needs authorizations for wild mammals and hybrids. Non-native dangerous snakes are illegal to keep.

Florida Exotic Pet Laws

Animals are categorized into classes. Class, I animals are prohibited from having and consisting of bears, big cats, rhinos, crocodiles, and primates. Class II animals are permitted only with a license and include howler monkeys, macaques, bobcats, cougars, wolves and more. A 2010 law forbids importing, offering, and launching non-native types. This law further limits capturing and keeping venomous reptiles and other reptiles of concern unless the owner had a license before the law was enacted.

Georgia Exotic Pet Laws

Illegal animals are described as inherently dangerous animals. This category consists of kangaroos, primates, canines, cats, crocodiles, alligators, elephants, and cobras.

Hawaii Exotic Pet Laws

Exotic animals are illegal in Hawaii. These include bears, large cats, wild canines, and more.

Idaho Exotic Pet Laws

The law forbids any animal or hybrid that can be a threat to animals, the environment, farming, or wildlife. This includes big cats, non-native dogs, and non-human primates. Authorizations can be gotten from the Idaho Department of Agriculture.

Illinois Exotic Pet Laws

Harmful animals are not allowed to be kept as pets unless you are a zoo, accredited circus, or other appropriate company. Harmful animals include big cats, coyotes, wolves, bears, and toxic reptiles. Primates are not allowed as pets unless they remained in possession before 2011 and had been signed up. There are no limitations on other unique types.

Indiana Exotic Pet Laws

No monkey laws exist in this state; however, you do need authorization for having wild animals. These are separated into Class I for squirrels and rabbits, Class II for a range of mammals, and Class III for unsafe exotic animals including large cats, bears, wolves, hyenas, venomous reptiles, gorillas, Burmese pythons, anacondas, and more.

Iowa Exotic Pet Laws


This state is quite simple with their unique pet laws. No hazardous wild animal is to be possessed, owned or bred in Iowa. This is specified as non-domestic cats and dogs, bears, primates, various reptiles and more.

Kansas Exotic Pet Laws

Kansas does not enable harmful regulated animals to be kept as pets unless you are a zoo, sanctuary, or other approved center. Hazardous regulated animals consist of large cats, bears, and poisonous snakes.

Kentucky Exotic Pet Laws

No person might have an inherently harmful animal. This includes primates, dangerous reptiles, bears, large cats and more.

Louisiana Exotic Pet Laws

Unless you were grandfathered in, you could not own a primate, bear or cougar in this southern state. Permits are needed for poisonous or large restricting snakes.

Maine Exotic Pet Laws

Permits are required to possess or breed wild animals. You might not own deer, bears, moose, or wild turkeys.

Maryland Exotic Pet Laws

A wide range of unique pets is limited in this state. Wild cats, bears, raccoons, skunks, foxes, primates and other unique pets are not enabled.

Massachusetts Exotic Pet Laws

Wild animals are not enabled to be kept as pets here. Wild animals are specified as non-domesticated animals.

Michigan Exotic Pet Laws

No large cats, bears, and wolf hybrids allowed Michigan. All other animals not listed need a permit.

Minnesota Exotic Pet Laws

This state has restrictions for owners of limited pets that they obtained before the law changes in 2005. It is likewise illegal to possess bears, non-domestic cats, and primates.

Mississippi Exotic Pet Laws

Little cats such as ocelots and servals are allowed this state without a permit; however, inherently dangerous animals as specified by the state’s law require a license to be kept as a pet. The authorization requirements are high, and the authorization is only helpful for one year for one animal.

Missouri Exotic Pet Laws

If you wish to own among the animals on this state’s list of harmful wild animals, you must register it with the county in which the animal is kept. Lions, tigers, wolves, and poisonous reptiles are included in this list.

Montana Exotic Pet Laws

An authorization is required if you wish to have a “wild animal menagerie.” This is defined as anybody who does not exhibit their big cats, bears, and so on, and does not have a minimum or a maximum number of animals noted. Other unique animals must have a one-time entry license and health certificate.

Nebraska Exotic Pet Laws

There are no restrictions for reptiles or primates, but you may not keep any non-domesticated cats, skunks, wolves, or bears as pets.

Nevada Exotic Pet Laws

Particular animals are noted as being forbidden in Nevada and consist of alligators, crocodiles, raccoons, and foxes. You might still own primates, monkeys, elephants, wolves, and non-domesticated cats without a permit or license.

New Hampshire Exotic Pet Laws

Primates, venomous reptiles, bears, wolves, and other animals are restricted.

New Jersey Exotic Pet Laws

Potentially hazardous types are on the list of prohibited pets, including some you may not usually put in that class, such as some parakeets and ground squirrels. Zoos and exhibitors might get a permit after fulfilling comprehensive, however useful, requirements.

New Mexico Exotic Pet Laws

It is illegal for a person to possess non-domesticated cats, primates, crocodiles, alligators, and wolves. Their state site has a permit application readily available for non-domestic animals.

New York Exotic Pet Laws

The law specifies you are not permitted to own any wild animal, consisting of non-domestic cats or canines, bears, crocodiles, poisonous reptiles, and primates.

North Carolina Exotic Pet Laws

This state enables specific counties and cities to create ordinances regarding exotic pets, for that reason depending upon where you live in North Carolina, you might or might not have any regulations. You need an entry permit from the State Veterinarian for bringing in skunk, fox, raccoon, non-domestic cats, coyote, marten, and brushtail possum.

North Dakota Exotic Pet Laws

Depending on what classification your exotic pet falls under, you may or may not need a license/permit to own them. Inherently harmful animals as defined by the state are listed as Category 4 animals and require a permit.

Ohio Exotic Pet Laws

Ohio’s laws have changed given that the Zanesville massacre in 2011. Ever since the Dangerous Wild Animal Act has taken effect and made many exotic animals illegal to own or need a license to hold what the state considers as harmful. 2014 introduced the last phase of the new laws.

Oklahoma Exotic Pet Laws

Simply get authorization, and you can own whatever animal you ‘d like. The state calls it a wildlife breeder’s license.

Oregon Exotic Pet Laws

It is illegal to have a unique animal, specified as wild cats, bears aside from black bears, canines foreign to Oregon, alligators, crocodiles, or caimans unless you had a permit before the law was enacted.

Pennsylvania Exotic Pet Laws

You must acquire a license for the exotic animals that are listed as “unique wildlife” by the state.

Rhode Island Exotic Pet Laws

Permits that require proof of sufficient knowledge and housing for the animals wanted are needed to have primates and other exotic pets, consisting of insects and amphibians.

South Carolina Exotic Pet Laws

An authorization to own native animals is needed; however, there are no state laws concerning primates, reptiles or large cats.

South Dakota Exotic Pet Laws

To own a primate, hoofstock, big cat, bear, or other unique pet noted by the state you need to get a permit and a vet’s assessment.

Tennessee Exotic Pet Laws

Class I animals (chimps, gorillas, cheetahs, and so on) are outlawed as pets, but there are no guidelines on monkeys and small wild cats.

Texas Exotic Pet Laws

A license is required to own lots of animals the state considers to be dangerous. This includes bears, coyotes, cougars, chimps, lions, tigers and lots of others. There are no laws regarding monkeys, wolves and other animals.

Utah Exotic Pet Laws

In only very unusual circumstances can you get a license to own one of the lots of animals listed as prohibited. Animals that fall under this category include bears, all non-domesticated cats, ferrets, and more.

Vermont Exotic Pet Laws

Unless you want exotic animals for instructional purposes or exhibition, you can not keep them as pets. Unique animals include primates, bears, poisonous reptiles, big cats, and wolves. Authorization is needed even for academic and exhibitory functions.

Virginia Exotic Pet Laws

Non-native animals listed in the law are prohibited to keep as pets. Educational and exhibitory functions require a license and anybody can keep primates as pets. However, you can keep a non-human primate.

Washington Exotic Pet Laws

Since 2007, Washington state laws changed to restrict harmful animals from being kept as pets. This list consists of bears, wolves, large cats, alligators, primates and more.

West Virginia Exotic Pet Laws

A cost of $2.00 is released to get an authorization for native types that were legally gotten. Unsafe non-native wild animals were banned in 2015 unless previously in ownership, so long as a license is acquired.

Wisconsin Exotic Pet Laws

No constraints here, except that all animals commonly sold at pet stores require certificates of veterinary inspection if brought from outside the state.

Wyoming Exotic Pet Laws

Game animals are controlled, and unique species (anything not discovered in the wild in the state or domesticated) are prohibited from having as pets.


Leave A Reply