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Exotic Pet Laws

Laws On Exotic Pets


Exotic Pet Laws

Two chimpanzees

Photo © Getty Images/Karl Ammann

Every state has different exotic pet laws. Some states are specific as to what animals they restrict while others allow pretty much anything to be kept as a pet. Find out what your state's exotic pet laws are here with these exotic pet law summaries.

Note: Be sure to double check with your state government in case laws have changed before acquiring your pet

Alabama Exotic Pet Laws


  • No one can possess, sell, or import fish from the genus Clarias or Serrasalmus, Black carp, any species 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 permits required for ownership.


Alaska Exotic Pet Laws


  • No one can possess, sell, import or export live game animals (any species of bird, mammal, or reptile, including a feral domestic animal, found or introduced in the state, except domestic birds and mammals). The state also includes all non-domestic animals including wild felines, wild canines, bear, primates as "live game."


Arizona Exotic Pet Laws


  • Restricted wildlife includes all non-domestic canines and felines, primates (except non-infant primates that are free from zoonotic disease), alligators, crocodiles, poisonous snakes and more. Special permits can be issued to specific individuals or groups to keep these animals, otherwise they are illegal to own as pets.


Arkansas Exotic Pet Laws


  • Large carnivores are illegal to own. There is also a limit of 6 bobcats, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, quail, oppossum, coyote, deer, red fox, and gray fox per owner.




  • To be short, no wild animals are allowed to be kept as pets in California. This includes all non-domestic canines and felines, elephants, crocodiles and more.




  • Colorado does not allow most exotic animals to be kept as pets, but you can keep some native reptiles, and what the state considers unregulated wildlife which includes sugar gliders, hedgehogs and more.




  • Bears, large cats and primates are included in the list of illegal animals to own in this small state.




  • This state requires permits for many wild mammals and reptiles and poisonous snakes are illegal to possess.




  • Animals are classified into classes. Class I animals are illegal to possess and include bears, large cats, rhinos, crocodiles, and chimps. Class II animals are allowed only with a permit and include Howler monkeys, macaques, bobcats, cougars, wolves and more.




  • Illegal animals are described as inherently dangerous animals. This classification includes kangaroos, primates, elephants and cobras.


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