Information

Exotic Pets


Can you own an owl as a pet? The answer may surprise you. This article covers the legality of owning a pet owl and their basic care requirements and answers questions many people may have about what it's like to own one of these raptors.

Axolotls are aquatic salamanders with some funny habits. There is still not as much information about them available as other species, so it can be hard to tell if their quirky behaviors are normal. Here are 5 axolotl behaviors that seem weird but are totally normal.

Where can you find a seller of Russian domesticated foxes, and what is it like to own and care for them? Are they different from other foxes?

What is it like to own a bush baby as a pet and are they even available in the pet trade? Read on to find out.

Some exotic pets are venomous, but how safe are they to own? Can they cause human fatalities? Here is a list of venomous—not poisonous—species kept as pets.

Here are six animals that resemble cats and are sometimes kept as pets.

Learn how to take care of a leopard gecko—from terrarium setup to diet to basic care, this guide will teach you how to be an informed and caring gecko parent.

Are ferrets the heroes that will help us stop COVID-19?

This article discusses basic care requirements for a pet wallaby. Consider this your go-to exotic pet care sheet for domesticated wallabies.

Pet owls can make good pets for the right owners. The purpose of this article is to address the influx of misleading information as well as the double standards that people tend to have when discussing alternative exotic pets.

Which exotic pets are legal in the state in Indiana?

Fennec foxes are cute, but can they be kept as pets? This article discusses the basics of what it takes to own the smallest member of the canine family.

This article includes a list of types of pet foxes and a profile of their care, temperament, legality information and what it's like to keep them as pets.

Knowing how your ferret's stomach works is a great start to keeping them healthy and choosing the right food.

It's easy to see why ferrets are appealing. They're smart, unusual and small enough to live inside the home. These adorable mammals are kept as pets, but they come with caretaking needs and legal caveats.

This article will discuss basic care and husbandry of ferrets, including behavior, diet, housing, preventative care, and common medical conditions.

Every country, state and province has different regulations on ferret ownership. Ferrets are not welcome in some areas, no matter how cute they are. Find out if you are legally allowed to have a ferret where you live.

Raccoon dog ownership has been banned in many countries, including the United States.

Bathing your ferret can be an adventure, depending on how your ferret feels about water!

Owning a ferret is rewarding, but there are also challenges. Here are some basic facts you should know about ferrets before buying one!

Here's a list of exotic pets that are legal in Arizona. Learn about the rules, regulations, and which animals are banned as pets.

Certain animals resemble dinosaurs and can be owned by people as pets. Discover how these species are related to prehistoric creatures and learn some interesting facts about them.

While most animals, exotic and otherwise, have smelly droppings, some some smell worse than others.

Which exotic pets are legal in Pennsylvania? Can I own a monkey, fox, ora hedgehog in the state?

Are pet squirrels legal? Can they be kept as pets? Here is a list of squirrel species people can own.

Some exotic pets make better and more affectionate companion animals than others.

Learn about the legalities of caring for an exotic pet in the state of Florida. There are both good and bad aspects of the regulations. For the most part, exotic pet ownership is logically regulated.

Are there other pets that are similar to dogs? Let's discover which "exotic" species make wonderful household companions.

These exotic, "wild" pets are smaller versions of larger animals and can live inside your home. These exotic pets are easier to care for than their larger relatives.

Here are 10 exotic animals that are legal to own in the state of Texas.

Guineafowl are excellent watchdogs. They spend their days eating ticks and other insects around the property and will produce enough eggs to pay for their upkeep.

Tamanduas face several challenges in the wild. If you live in a suitable location where keeping this species is legal, you will find that tamanduas make for a loveable, engaging companion.

Sugar gliders are fascinating creatures in the wild and amazingly fun pets to keep domestically. In this article, we will discuss the husbandry requirements and special characteristics of this species.

Foxes are quickly becoming one of the most popular exotic pets. Here's a look at their behavior, care, and more!

Here is a list of alternative exotic animals you didn't know people kept as pets, or, perhaps, you've never heard of them before.

This article is for current and future angora ferret owners who want to learn how to take care of their unique pets.

The price range of exotic pets can vary tremendously, from as low as $5 to thousands of dollars for rare or high-demand species. Here is a list and discussion of inexpensive exotic animals and their prices.

Here is a list of deer that people can own as pets in the exotic pet trade.

Fantasizing about having your own pet dragon? Make your dream come true with these exotic pets that are dragon lookalikes.

This is a discussion of the legality and care of pet owls in the United States.

Here are a few reasons why exotic pets are banned in some states, and why I disagree with these laws and regulations.

How to care for pet Patagonian and Chacoan maras, also known as dwarf cavies.

Here are some potential pet names for hedgehogs, porcupines, and tenrecs.

Exotic animals that are legal as pets in New Jersey, plus which permits are required to keep them.

Ferrets can be great pets. They are fun, inquisitive, and intelligent. But are they right for your family?

These exotic, unique, alternative animals are legal as pets in New York State.

This article provides information about pet otters. Are they legal? Where can you buy one? Do they make good pets? What are the husbandry requirements? I will answer these question and more.

A partial list of exotic animals that are legally kept as pets in the state of California.

This guide provides information about which fox species you can own as pets, where it's legal to do so, and what kind of care they need. It will also break down the pros and cons of fox ownership so you can decide whether or not having one as a pet is a good idea for you.

Here’s a list of each unique pet that is legal in each individual state in the United States.


Exotic Pets - pets

Primates are undeniably a challenging pet to keep, but some species are so small, they pose little threat to the public beyond bite wounds no worse than what small dogs can inflict. Primates are one of the most popular captive species feared for spreading deadly viruses to humans, but actually finding an occurrence of this will prove to be a challenge in itself. In reality, monkeys are prone to catching diseases from humans, which can be a significant threat to them and adds to the challenge of their care.

North Carolina
This is one of the few states that still allow a vast number of exotic animals including some species of big cats, bears, and wild canines. In most cases, illegal animals in North Carolina consist of animals that are native to the United States, are rabies vectors, and some select potentially invasive species. This leaves all primates (those not controlled by Federal legislation) legal in the state. There is one massive catch, unfortunately. Most North Carolina counties ban many exotic pets or require extensive conditions. There are a small number of counties where monkeys are fully legal, however, and exotic pet owners tend to flock there. Like all animals, monkeys can bite and cause injuries. Unlike domesticated dogs, they’ve never caused any fatalities. There are also no known occurrences of fatalities from zoonotic disease or serious illness in the United States from pet monkeys in recent history.

Florida
All primates in the Sunshine State require permits, but some of these permits are simple to acquire. There are some larger species of primates that require a Class 2 license, effectively making them illegal for regular pet owners, and some of these are howler monkeys, macaques, vervet monkeys, and guenons. All great apes, gibbons and baboons are Class 1 wildlife which requires “substantial experience” to get a permit to own. Capuchin, spider, and wolly monkeys require the submission of documented experience and a reference letter from a licensed professional facility in addition to the Class 3 license.

Nevada
This state is considered to have extremely lenient exotic pet laws however some animals like foxes and other native animals are not legal. All primates are legal in the state.

Ohio
Ohio used to be an exotic pet-friendly state until a task force aiming to restrict private ownership was empowered by an incident where one man allegedly released his big cats and other carnivores and committed suicide. Unfortunately as a result, most primates are illegal and the remaining species, which seem to solely consist of lemurs, specified marmosets (of which only one on the list is found in the pet trade), squirrel monkeys and capuchin monkeys require registration. The requirements of registration are relatively extensive. The animals must be micro-chipped and the applicant must provide substantial information. Bizarrely, the Ohio code lists specific primates that are illegal that include smaller monkeys like titi monkeys, tamarins, and a few other species that are rare or non-existent in the pet trade, leaving out many larger primates such as macaques, gibbons, and even great apes. Does this possibly mean that these species are unregulated and therefore legal even without registration?

Texas
In the Lone Star State, specific animals are named as being illegal. Primates that aren’t great apes and baboons are legal.

Mississippi
This state names the following primates (all great and lesser apes) as ‘wild animals’ and makes it illegal to own them: gibbons, orangutans, chimpanzees, siamangs, and gorillas as well macaques and baboon species. Other monkeys should be legal.

Tennessee
This state has relatively lax laws on primates as long as you aren’t interested in great apes, lesser apes, and baboon species. Those large primates, including chimpanzees, orangutans, geladas and gibbons, are considered Class 1 or Class 2 wildlife and are illegal for pet owners. All other primates are legal and no registration is required, making Tennessee a very primate-friendly state in comparison to others.

Alabama
Primates should be legal in this state, as only certain native animals and rabies vectors are cited as being regulated.

West Virginia
This state has enacted legislation where people can apply for a permit for an exotic pet from the state Fish and Game director. Assuming that this permit is obtainable and the requirements aren’t unfair or excessive, this would make all primates legal.

Indiana
This state has a permit system for “dangerous exotic animals” but the only primates considered to be such are gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans. All other primate species should be legal.

Arkansas
Certain large primates, apes, baboons, and macaques are banned in Arkansas, but other primate species appear to be legal. There is a requirement that all primates need to be registered, however, and their enclosures must meet or exceed the requirements set forth by the USDA, which is not unreasonable. There is also a law that restricts the primate owner from having the monkey roam at large (very reasonable) or having public contact with the animal (less reasonable).

Wyoming
The Wyoming Fish and Game Department issue permits for most species of exotic animals, also called “living wildlife”, and the only exceptions that don’t need one are common pet and farm animals. This makes primates legal provided that these permits are actually obtainable.

North Dakota
A Non-Traditional Livestock permit is required to own ‘Category 3 Animals’ which includes primates, bears, wolves, venomous reptiles and big cats. These animals are “subject to additional housing and care requirements”, which vary according to the species. For primates, there are disease testing and caging requirements. For example, an indoor primate enclosure should be at least two square feet per pound of adult body weight for each primate and a 50% increase for each additional primate. There should be a primary enclosure, or indoor enclosure within a building and a perimeter fence for outdoor enclosures (even though all primates can climb well).

Nebraska
A Captive Wildlife Permit is needed to possess a few exotic species such as wolves, skunks, and big cats, but there are surprisingly no regulations on primate species.

Kansas
Larger exotic animals are banned in Kansas, but some smaller exotics such as porcupines and monkeys are not.


Everything Your Exotic Pets Desire

Who we are

Nick's Pets is a family owned and operated Pet Shop since 1978. We carry a large variety of pets and pet supplies. We have specialized in hand-fed baby birds and we carry a large variety of reptiles, amphibians, small animals and supplies.

Supplies

All supplies are right here in one shop. We carry your cages for all types of animals. We have your heat lamps, basking lamps, daylight blue, infrared head lamps, repti sand, vita sand and so much more for your reptiles. We carry a large assortment of bird cages, toys, specialty foods and treats for those feathered babies of yours as well.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

We want you to be completely satisfied with our service, which is why we have a great returns policy:

Guarantee: The buyer can take the bird or birds to be checked by a vet at Buyers expense within 3 working days of purchase date. No Guarantee on hand-feeding babies. All sales are final.


Exotic Pets

Lisa Weisberg, Esq., ASPCA

You’ve seen them on the street: 10-foot-long pythons wrapped around people, out for a Sunday stroll. You’ve seen the news reports on television: tiger escapes from yard lion severely injures child. Animals once seen only in zoos and circuses are becoming so popular that people will go to any lengths and pay exorbitant sums of money to own them (see “Exotic Prices”). For increasing numbers of people, domestic cats and dogs no longer satisfy. Today it’s the Bengal tiger, the Capuchin monkey, the Burmese python. The more exotic, the better.

Dangerous Liaisons

With the thirst for exotics looms danger. Whether caught in the wild or bred in captivity, these animals, by their very nature, are wild and potentially hazardous to public health. Already, cases of herpes B and the deadly Ebola virus, contracted from monkeys, have been reported. Venomous snakes are harbored despite the scant availability of antivenin. And the mystery underlying the introduction of the West Nile virus in the Northeast remains unresolved. What other diseases may nonnative species transmit to us…humans and animals alike?

Similarly, the threat to public safety is high. Exotic “pets” are usually maintained in environments that have no semblance to the animals’ natural habitats. In fact, so far removed are they from their natural habitat and lifestyle that some develop stereotypic behaviors typically seen in highly stressed research animals and animals used in entertainment. Those that can manage to escape do, only to be captured or killed to safeguard the public. As our cities become ever more populated and our suburbs further subdivided, it’s astonishing to think that the unfettered keeping of exotic animals, for the most part, is perfectly legal.

Thankfully, this is changing. Increasing threats to public health and safety have led state lawmakers in New York, Texas and Washington State to consider legislation that would, in the future, prohibit people from harboring wild animals. Those presently keeping animals deemed wild would be allowed to keep them, provided they can meet strict standards: cages of sufficient strength and size to adequately and humanely contain the animal proper, ongoing veterinary care knowledge and provision of appropriate care of the animal recapture plans should the animal escape and sufficient liability insurance to cover the bodily injury or death of a person. In addition, keepers of wild animals can have no record of animal abuse, must be at least 21 years of age and must provide authorities with sufficient annual record-keeping. The wild animal cannot be transferred without approval, and if it can no longer be kept according to the standards, it must be transferred to a duly incorporated, recognized animal sanctuary.

Right for the Wrong Reason

As strict as the requirements are, some argue that no standard could ever rise to the level of the animal’s natural habitat. True but given the captive environments in which many of these animals have been kept, could they ever be returned to the wild? Is their habitat even available?

There is debate about what would constitute the most humane future for these animals. People who harbor them argue that any regulation is unconstitutional, an invasion of their privacy and an infringement of their right to personal possession. At a time when more and more activities are regulated, is there any basis to exempt people who keep exotic animals? Perhaps more importantly, what of the animals, many of whom were deliberately taken from their native habitat and whose lives we have taken responsibility for? Policy- makers often defer to the traditional concept of animals as property and give more serious consideration to the interests of these “property owners.” Second to that is the compelling state interest to ensure public health and safety—so compelling that it can override individual rights when necessary. The best interest of the animal is considered last, if at all.

The ASPCA Government Affairs and Public Policy department and other animal protection lobbyists who are working to prohibit the keeping of wild animals as pets may succeed, but not based on the best interest of the animals. Hopefully, one day we will return to a time when these animals can only be seen in the kind of home nature intended for them. Perhaps then we’ll respect these animals for what they are, rather than for what human interests they can fulfill.

Lisa Weisberg, Esq., is senior vice president for ASPCA Government Affairs and Public Policy.

• Bengal tiger—a pair for $3,500*
• Boa constrictor—$75 to $100
• Capuchin monkey—$2,000
• Chimpanzee—$40,000 to $50,000
• Burmese python—$100 to $125
• Spider monkey—$4,000

© 2001 ASPCA
ASPCA Animal Watch – Fall 2001


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