Animals are interesting creatures. Perhaps that’s why humans have a difficult time keeping a distance from the natural wonders of mother nature, especially other species. We are naturally attracted to the stranger side of nature. Don’t get me wrong, cats and dogs make great house pets for the average person, but sometimes pet lovers want animals with a wild streak. With there being over 8 million animals in the world and still another 80% left undiscovered, there’s bound to be enough exotic pets to go around for the adventurous animal lover. Don't worry about breaking any laws—these wonderful pets are completely legal! Here are 10 exotic-turned-domestic pets you can legally own in the US.
10 The Serval
Cat lovers will surely love this wild beauty. Servals are African mid-sized cats that are accustomed to warm climates and open-wide spaces. Pet owners should build a moderate amount of space for their exotic cat to feel at home. Servals require lots of daily exercise and love to play! They’re even capable of being litter-trained if you start early. Servals are legal to own in many US states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Maine, and Nevada. Depending on which state you live in, it’s always best to check this information ahead of time.
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9 The Bearded Dragon
When it comes to lizards, there are several exotic species you can find in the wild. The Bearded Dragon, for example, is a desert lizard of the great Australian Outback. In contrast to most exotic animals, Bearded Dragons have needs that are rather simple and easy to follow. The desert lizard is an omnivore and requires artificial sunlight and sand to reflect their natural habit. Oddly enough, Bearded Dragons are becoming popular among household pets in the US and are legal in most states. Who knew there were so many reptile lovers?
8 The Fennec Fox
The Fennec Fox is the smallest canine ever known to mankind. It has beautiful large ears, a small face and body, and the softest fur. They make the perfect purse dog. These foxes can be taught to play fetch and taken on walks, just like your average domesticated dog. They do eat dog food but may require an occasional side-dish of crickets. Fennec Foxes are legal to own in all except four states: Missouri, Nevada, Minnesota and Washington D.C. Good luck!
7 The Capybara
Native to the waters of the South and Central America, Capybaras are the largest rodent ever recorded in history. They can be as tall as a Golden Retriever and weigh up to 140lbs. Capybaras may be affectionate and loving creatures but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to look after. Skincare for a Capybara is essential, as they have extremely dry skin and need to spend most of their time in the water. They are also very social animals and should be housed in pairs. Unfortunately, they can only be legally owned in two states: Texas and Pennsylvania.
6 The Wallaby
Affectionately nicknamed the “Mini-Kangaroo”, wallabies are one of the most fun and energetic exotic pets you can own. These Australian Outback natives maybe small compared to a traditional Kangaroo but require a moderately sized playpen in which to run around. Wallabies are also Herbivores and eat a wealth of plants and vegetables. Most US states they require USDA licenses to own a Wallaby, but in others do not. The states that do not require a legal permit are Nevada, Wisconsin, Ohio, West Virginia, North and South Carolina.
5 The Chimpanzee
For monkey lovers, the Chimpanzee is an awesome exotic pet to own. Having spent much of their time in African rainforests, pet owners should invest in a large enclosure for the animal to play in. Chimps grow up to seven feet tall and are incredibly strong. Their dietary needs can vary but they have been traditionally known as omnivores. Chimps enjoy feeding on plants and fruits – bananas are their favorite! Chimpanzee’s, however, are illegal to own in most states. The few states that allow ownership of Chimp’s with a valid license are Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and North Dakota.
4 The Hyacinth Macaw
Parrots make for interactive house pets as they are very vocal and comical. The Hyacinth Macaw, also known as the Blue Parrot, certainly enjoys the company of others. However, this South American bird’s overall largeness can be a bit of a handful when it comes to care. Owners may have to shop for a custom-made cage and invest in a high vegetarian diet. Purchasing the bird isn’t cheap either; these beauties cost anywhere from a grand to $10,000 easily. The Hyacinth Macaw can be owned in most US states, so long as they are not imported.
3 The Chinchilla
Chinchillas are joining the ranks among other purse pets. These adorable mammals hail from the beautiful Andes Mountains of South America and were named after the Chincha people. Chinchillas are accustomed to warm weather and open spaces, meaning they are very active and energetic. Make sure to keep them entertained throughout the day. Chinchillas also require a lot of dental care since their teeth never stop growing. Pellets and hay make great food sources. These cuddly mammals are legal to own in most states such as North Dakota, California, Delaware, and Hawaii. Some states may require a permit, though.
2 The Sugar Glider
If you’ve ever wondered it’s like to own a squirrel, you should purchase a Sugar Glider. These tiny animals may look like your typical flying squirrel but they’re actually a part of the marsupial family. Like Kangaroos, females raise their young in pouches until maturity. These New Guinea and Australian natives love play dates with other animals and their caregivers. Their diets consist of a special homemade blend that consists of minerals such as nectar powder, water, a hardboiled egg, and honey. Gliders are illegal to own in California and Alaska but are legal with a permit in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
1 The Axolotl
Axolotls are large salamanders that come from the nearly dry lakes of Xochimilco and Chalco in Mexico City, Mexico. These exotic animals spend their entire lives in water, never coming onto land. An adult Axolotl requires a 20-gallon aquarium due to the large amount of waste they produce. Like most amphibians, axolotls require minimal lighting and prefer the dark. Axolotls tend to eat large earthworms and bloodworm cubes. Axolotls are legal to own everywhere in the U.S. except for California, Maine, New Jersey, and Virginia. However, it is a crime to import them from out of state.
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