10 Illegal Animals To Own As Pets In The US

10 Illegal Animals To Own As Pets In The US

If you live in the United States and want to own an exotic pet, make sure you check your state’s laws first. Many states have unconstitutional pet laws that you must follow. Even animals that are commonly raised as pets in other parts of the world may be illegal in the United States.

While these laws can be inconvenient for pet owners, they are usually enforced in the name of conservation or safety. Animals that are difficult or impossible to domesticate may pose a threat to you or your community if they attack, whereas the more docile animals on this list may pose a threat to your local ecosystem if they escape.

One of the first steps for anyone thinking about getting a skunk as a pet should be descending it, which entails removing its scent glands so it doesn’t spray its odor around the house. Outside of a few states, however, owning a pet skunk is still illegal.

READ MORE: Top 10 Animals With the Longest Lifespan on Earth

What is the rationale behind the ban on turtles with shells smaller than four inches?

The ban on turtles with shells smaller than four inches, including snapping turtles, is in place to mitigate the risk of salmonella transmission. These tiny turtles naturally carry salmonella bacteria on their shells, which can pose a significant health risk, particularly to children.

If you think it would be fun to own a lemur, keep in mind that they are illegal pets in Ohio, Nevada, Florida, and North Carolina. Furthermore, the sale or transfer of lemurs is strictly prohibited in many other states.

It is cruel to own only one lemur because they are social animals. Females have scent glands on various parts of their bodies that they use to attract males in the wild. They will leave this odor all over your house, and it is extremely offensive. Lemurs enjoy making noise, so expect them to sing constantly, often at the top of their lungs. Lemurs are typically aggressive, especially as they approach sexual maturity.

Sugar gliders are a popular pet, but they are illegal in many states, including Alaska, California, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. They are also prohibited in some cities, such as St. Paul, Minnesota, and New York City.

Even if owning a sugar glider is legal in your area, you should reconsider getting one as a pet. They prefer a dark environment during the day because they are nocturnal. Their food, which consists of specialized water and nectar drinks, can be difficult to find. Sugar gliders, like domesticated animals, require regular veterinary care, but most veterinarians will not treat them.

Mini pigs are becoming popular as household pets, but there is no such thing as a “mini” pig. “Teacup” and “micro” pigs are simply malnourished piglets that will eventually grow to weigh more than 100 pounds, with some exceeding 500 pounds. Furthermore, many adults are capable of becoming aggressive toward humans. Many cities forbid keeping farm animals within city limits, which many pig owners are unaware of until it’s too late.

While miniature pigs are becoming more popular, they eventually grow to be too large, frequently exceeding 100 pounds and sometimes exceeding 500 pounds. Additionally, adult pigs can be aggressive toward humans. Pig ownership is also restricted by city ordinances and regulations regarding farm animals.

Owning a primate as a pet often depends on whether it is a monkey or an ape. Tarsiers, tamarins, chimps, squirrel monkeys, macaques, capuchins, marmosets, spider monkeys, and guenons are the most commonly kept pet monkeys. However, due to their high energy levels and demanding needs for space and social interaction, primates, regardless of breed, are usually poor candidates for pets. It is legal to keep a monkey as a pet in Arizona, Mississippi, Indiana, and Tennessee, but not an ape; in Wisconsin, Florida, and Texas, certain breeds of monkeys are permitted; in Illinois, only residents with disabilities may keep a capuchin monkey; and in Connecticut, monkey ownership is currently being phased out.

It is legal to own a pet alligator in Florida if you have a license; it is legal with a permit in eleven other states; and it is illegal in all other states. However, just because you can privately own an alligator does not mean you should: Individuals can grow to be over eleven feet long and capable of inflicting severe harm. With at least 24 deadly alligator attacks since 1948, Florida has the most frequent human-alligator interactions in the country.

Why are pet raccoons illegal in the majority of states?

Due to their unpredictable behavior, proclivity to escape, and potential aggression, pet raccoon ownership is generally prohibited. Despite spending time with humans, raccoons retain their wild instincts and can endanger both owners and others.

The Chausies are the offspring of a jungle cat and a domestic cat, and successful breeding has resulted in them being very domestic.

They are not, however, without significant challenges. Chausies are illegal in 19 states.

Chausies’ domestic nature does not completely eliminate its wild side, so you must be experienced to handle it.

These beings are excessively energetic, aggressive, and even antisocial.

Zebras are related to horses, and because horses have been successfully domesticated, many people have attempted to do the same with zebras.

Those attempts were futile. Some people, however, believe it is possible to keep a zebra in captivity.

States such as Nevada and New Hampshire have outright bans for these hopefuls.

To begin with, these animals are aggressive. Zebras are herbivores, but they are aggressive and will kick if you get too close.

They also don’t like to be petted and don’t trust humans, so good luck trying to bond with this creature.

It is illegal to own an African clawed frog without a permit in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, or Washington. This is due to the fact that this species carries a fungus that has historically decimated other frog populations and has been known to eat other fish and tadpoles. They can also reproduce quickly, which can lead to them encroaching on the habitat of native species and driving them out.


Banned in States/Cities


Forbidden as pets in the U.S.


Private ownership is prohibited nationwide


Mostly illegal to own as pets


Prohibited in California and Hawaii


Forbidden to own privately in several locations

Venomous snakes

Illegal to own in numerous states

Quaker parakeets

Illegal to own in several states


Restricted ownership, varies by state


Large species are generally prohibited


Big Cat Public Safety Act prohibits ownership


Prohibited in most states


Illegal to own or possess


Illegal in California and Hawaii

Pit bulls

Outlawed in over 700 cities

Surprisingly, some states make keeping pet hedgehogs, ferrets, and turtles illegal.

Many states and cities also prohibit the possession of pet monkeys, sugar gliders, Chausies, skunks, lemurs, and zebras.

For obvious reasons, owning large cats such as Bengals is illegal in at least 19 states. Some states, however, permit it if the cat is four generations removed from its wild ancestors.

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