1. Home

Exotic Pet Laws

Laws On Exotic Pets


Otto - Domestic Ferret Picture

Otto - Domestic Ferret (8 week old sable kit)

Photo © JS

South Dakota


  • In order to own a primate, hoofstock, large cat, bear, or other exotic pet listed by the state you must obtain a permit.




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




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




  • In only very rare circumstances can you get a permit to own one of the many animals listed as prohibited. Animals that fall into this category include bears, all non-domesticated felines, ferrets, and more.




  • Unless you want exotic animals for educational purposes or exhibition, you cannot keep them as pets. Exotic animals include primates, bears, poisonous reptiles, large cats and wolves. A permit is needed even for educational and exhibitory purposes.




  • Nonnative animals listed in the law are illegal to keep as pets. Educational and exhibitory purposes need a license and anyone can keep primates as pets.




  • As of 2007, Washington state laws changed to restrict dangerous animals from being kept as pets. This list includes bears, wolves, large cats, alligators, primates and more.


West Virginia


  • A fee of $2.00 is issued to get a permit for native species that were legally acquired. Other than native species, there are no laws governing exotic animals.




  • No restrictions here, except that all animals commonly sold at pet shops need certificates of veterinary inspection if brought from outside the state.




  • Game animals are regulated and exotic species (anything not found in the wild in the state or domesticated) are illegal to possess as pets.


  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Exotic Pets
  4. Skunks
  5. Exotic Pet Laws

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.