Exotic Pets that are Legal to Own

Cats and dogs are probably some of the most adorable pets that we can’t get enough of. Though they are really good pets, sometimes, we also dream of owning some exotic pets as well. There are lots of exotic animals out there but not all of them are legally allowed to be owned and to be kept as pets at home. But there are awesome exotics that are legal to own in certain areas.

If you’re one of those who is looking for something a little out of ordinary for a pet, then here are some of the exotic animals that are legal to own in many places in America. These animals can be great pets but it’s also important to make lots of research first.

1. Wallaby


A wallaby closely resembles the kangaroo. In fact, they are usually referred to as mini kangaroos. It is a common sight in the wild in Australia but can also be seen around the United States as pets. They are truly exotic and not like any other pet you’ve owned before. Therefore, if you want to bring one at home to take care of as a pet, you need to do lots of research first. And you also need lots of outdoor space for it.

They are illegal to own inside many city limits so it’s better to check with your state first before deciding to get one as a pet and you may also need to obtain a license for it.

2. Ball Python

Ball Python

The ball python is in the same snake family as boas and they are a type of constrictor snake, which kills their prey by suffocating them. They can reach up to 3 or 4 feet long and can live for up to 30 years. Just like other snakes, you will need a proper enclosure, food, and environment for them.

Ball pythons are legal in most places and do not require a license to own. However, they are illegal to be owned in Florida, Hawaii, New York, and in some cities in California.

3. Capybara


This super cute animal is one of the largest rodents in the world and it can weigh up to 140 pounds. It is also a semi-aquatic animal, therefore, if you choose it to be your pet, it will definitely need access to water for it to swim around. Capybaras may look adorable and sweet but they are challenging pets as well. They are extremely social, that’s why getting only one as a pet is not advisable as they do better in groups.

The Capybara is legal to own in Texas and Pennsylvania. It can also be legal in other states but requires licenses. You can check first with your local registration before deciding to own it as a pet.

4. Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw

A hyacinth macaw is an extremely strong bird that can grow up to 40 inches tall with a 60-inch wingspan. If you want to own this bird as a pet, you will need to train it as young as possible to ensure that they will not hurt you or anyone using their powerful beaks.

Even though this bird can be owned, they are still considered endangered because only 2,500 to 5,000 hyacinth macaw are left in the wild. Aside from that, they are also costly and require a lot of special care.

They are legal to own as pets in most states as long as they are obtained legally, meaning they are not imported or stolen and has complete and proper documentation.

5. Serval


This is an incredibly beautiful exotic cat that originates from Africa. However, it is not an ideal pet for everyone because it requires a different mindset compared to owning a domestic cat. This animal is typically aggressive and is difficult to own because it is still considered “wild”. But they can also be very affectionate and they can make great companions as well when trained.

A serval is legal to own without a license in Alabama, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. You can obtain a license to own one if you live in Arizona, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

6. Chimpanzee


Chimpanzees are adorable animals but can be difficult pets. They can live up to 50 years which means a chimpanzee as a pet is like signing up for a lifelong commitment. They can grow up to 150 pounds and can be twice as strong as humans. It means that designing an enclosure for them can be tough. They may belong in the wild but with proper training, they can be really great pets as well.

Owning them as a pet is illegal in most states in America, but if you live in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, or Rhode Island, you might be able to obtain a license to own one. Be sure to check with your state first if there are any regulations about owning a chimpanzee.

7. Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragon

The bearded dragon originated from Australia and it is one of the most common house pet in the United States. It is a great pet for kids because of its calm nature and it is very easy to take care of. Bearded dragons can grow up to 2 feet long, meaning, you will need to give it enough space for them to live in your home.

Bearded dragons love to be held and handled and they are legal to own in the United States. You can buy one in most pet stores.

8. Chinchilla


This animal is a member of the rodent family and it is one of the more destructive ones. It means that owning it as a pet requires patience and a special kind of expertise. Chinchillas do not like to be cuddled and they like to run and play around. It is legal to own a chinchilla in most states with no license required as long as it is obtained legally, meaning, it is not captured from the wild.

9. Fennec Fox

Fennec Fox

The fennec fox originated from the African continent. It is known to be the smallest breed of fox in the world which only reaches 4 pounds when fully grown. Fennec foxes behave just like dogs and cats, usually energetic and independent. However, they do not usually favor dog or cat toys. It can live up to 15 years, which means owning it as a pet is a commitment.

A fennec fox is legal to own anywhere in the United States except Minnesota, Missouri, Washington, and Nevada.

10. Hedgehog

Having a hedgehog as a pet is just like having hamsters or guinea pigs because they need a cage, hiding place, food, and water. Hedgehogs are legal to own in most states around the U.S. However, it is illegal in a few places such as in Hawaii, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Arizona. But it is possible to own one with a permit in these states.

11. Monitor Lizards

Monitor Lizards

A monitor lizard is a type of large lizard that can grow from 2 to 3 feet in length to 7 to 8 feet. It is a highly intelligent animal which can make great pets for people who are prepared to learn about them. Some of them are easy to tame and live with compared to others, that’s why research is important. Monitor lizards can be owned legally as pets in most states but many require a permit.

12. Ostrich


Most of the people who own ostriches raise them as alternative livestock for meat. If you want to own one as a pet, you will need a ton of space because they are massive birds. They can grow up to 8 feet tall and can weigh 350 pounds. If you want an ostrich as a pet at home, you need to be sure that you’re prepared to care for such a massive animal.

An ostrich is legal to be owned as a pet in Florida, Colorado, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Tennessee, and North Dakota.

13. Skunk


It might be hard to believe but yes, there are people who keep skunks as their pets at home. In fact, domesticated skunks have become popular as exotic pets. No worries because if you’re wondering about the smell, domesticated skunks have their scent glands removed when they are babies. This means that they no longer produce the horrible scent that defines them. Domesticated skunks are also typically more docile and friendly because they don’t grow up attacking with their scent.

If you want to own a skunk as a pet, it is legal in 17 states across the United States. You just need to check in your local registry if it is allowed in your place.

These are some of the exotic pets that are legal to own. Some of them might be really weird and might sound impossible but they are people who love them as their pets. So, which of these exotic animals would you like to own as a pet soon?