The Weirdest Animals You Can Legally Own In The US

© Shutterstock

From Ranker

Exotic animals are fascinating, but owning something just because it's lovely or intriguing can be unwise. Sometimes, keeping exotic pets works out, but these animals are often taken out of their natural habitat, and it ends up hurting them. Depending on the animal and the area in which you live, you may legally be able to own a bizarre pet. But should you have them? Well, that's another matter entirely, left up to you and your conscience.

Animal ownership laws vary wildly state-to-state, which only serves to complicate an already complex issue. Certain state laws include specific regulations permitting or prohibiting a species, but local laws can supersede state rules and make allowances. And some exotic animals have been successfully domesticated over the years, which bodes well for anyone looking to adopt one of these rare pets. In certain instances, exotic animal owners have even been able to utilize strange pets as service animals.

For all the aspiring bizarre pet owners out there, learn which of the weirdest pets people can legally own. 


© Shutterstock

The American alligator is native to Florida, Louisiana, and other parts of the American South. Whether you can legally own a gator is determined by the laws in these regions. In Florida, for instance, you can have an alligator after obtaining a license to do so from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service. Not surprisingly, alligators must have suitable enclosures that give them room to roam comfortably and enough water to submerge themselves completely.

Given the responsibilities involved, it's not uncommon for state or local animal welfare agencies to perform random, unannounced checks on the wellbeing of alligators living in private homes.


© Shutterstock

Not many people are aware of the capybara, but it's the largest rodent in the world. Native to South America, these animals are surprisingly tame, but that alone isn't a valid reason to adopt one.

Capybaras are pack animals, so owning just one is not advised. Also, they're massive animals that require a lot of space and food, making them indoor-averse creatures. Legalities differ from state to state, but both Texas and New York allow residents to own capybaras legally. 


© Shutterstock

Servals are native to specific sub-Saharan regions of Africa. They look like a big domestic feline, and it's probably this oversized house cat appearance that makes people think of them as ideal pets. Servals are wild cats, though, and numerous risks and considerations need to be assessed before purchasing one.

Servals are a member of the order Carnivora, and state laws vary wildly when it comes to keeping these types of animals. They can't be legally owned in Ohio, but residents in Texas, Tennessee, and several other states are permitted to have them.


© Shutterstock

When it comes to the cuteness factor, wallabies are up there with fennec foxes. Native to Australia and its surrounding islands, wallabies are marsupials similar to kangaroos but generally smaller. They love to run around, so they must have an enclosure that gives them plenty of space and coverage.

In recent years, wallabies have emerged as therapy and service animals; one therapy wallaby even stole the show at a 2015 sporting event. The laws determining where wallaby ownership is legal are complicated, but New York and Montana allow them. Regardless, contact your local wildlife board before planning to adopt one.


© Shutterstock

Kinkajous are mammals native to the rainforests of Central and South America. People have said the creatures look like a cross between a monkey and a ferret. They are solitary, vocal animals with a penchant for honey, which is where their nickname "honey bear" comes from. Considered exotic pets, most states regulate ownership or outright ban it. And keeping one of these creatures is a serious undertaking since most US states are unable to replicate a rainforest environment.

Special precautions must be taken to ensure a pet kinkajou has all it needs to live a long and healthy life. Oh, and they do live long lives: up to 40 years in captivity, making them a considerable commitment.


© Shutterstock

Out of all the animals in the world, chimpanzees are perhaps the most closely aligned with humans. We share 96% of our genetic makeup with chimps. In several states, like Alaska and Texas, you must obtain a license to keep a chimp, while others outright ban owning the primates. Many other states don't have chimp-specific laws on the books, but it's always wise to check with your local wildlife service before adopting one.

Living with a chimp is a big commitment. These fascinating creatures, native to sub-Saharan Africa, can live well over 50 years and require just as much care and attention as humans. And while chimps aren't typically suited for life as a service animal, some breeds of monkeys are.

Fennec Fox

© Shutterstock

Fennec foxes are undeniably adorable, but that doesn't make them an ideal house pet. As the smallest fox breed on the planet, they only grow (on average) to a little over three pounds. Native to North Africa, their energy and appearance make them similar to puppies. But they also possess an independent streak, which is more of a house cat trait.

They reportedly can't be owned in California, but many states, like New York, consider them "non-dangerous exotic animals" and allow them to be kept as pets.

Bearded Dragon

© Shutterstock

Bearded dragons are the (sort of) cute reptiles known for a throat pouch that protrudes out from underneath their chin - hence the name. Hailing from central Australia, "beardies," as they are lovingly called, are mostly docile and easy animals to care for as they often interact affectionately with humans.

They're legal to own in every state and can even be purchased from major retailers.

Sugar Glider

© Shutterstock

Sugar gliders are marsupials originally found in Australia, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. As their name implies, they like sweet foods and can glide through the air. For these reasons, they require a special diet and an enclosure large enough to accommodate them. They thrive on social interaction, so most experts recommend buying more than one to make sure they have enough attention to grow and flourish.

They can't be legally owned in Pennsylvania and several other states, but a number, such as Delaware and Georgia, allow them.


© Shutterstock

Chinchillas come from certain parts of South America, namely Chile and Peru. Chinchillas can make for great pets if given proper care and attention. Chinchillas are a form of rodent, with the densest coat of any land mammal (in other words: hard to keep clean). They're also opposed to cuddling, showing affection, or even interacting with people.

There don't seem to be any legal or regional restrictions when it comes to owning a chinchilla, and many states allow ownership. But again, check with your local fish and wildlife department as some jurisdictions may require a permit. And something else to keep in mind: Chinchillas are incredibly messy.

Emperor Scorpion

© Shutterstock

So, you want a pet who won't cuddle, snuggle, or acknowledge your presence in any way? The emperor scorpion might be your ideal match. People do keep these arachnids, which are native to Western Africa and one of the largest scorpions on the planet. On the plus side, they are super low-maintenance and don't require much to thrive.

There don't seem to be legal or regional restrictions when it comes to owning this scorpion, but it's important to do one's homework before bringing one of these exotic creatures home. They are scorpions, after all, and while they aren't easily provoked, and their venom is relatively mild, they can still sting. 


© Shutterstock

Like chinchillas, hedgehogs have skyrocketed in popularity as pets in American households. Depending on the specific breed, hedgehogs hail from Africa, Asia, Europe, and New Zealand. They are pretty low maintenance as far as pets go, requiring the same level of care as any small rodent. Though they don't naturally seek out human affection, they often welcome being held and can bond with their owners.

They are legal in several states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania, though specific laws against ownership exist in Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Florida, Delaware, and Utah.

Ball Python

© Shutterstock

If you've ever dreamed of owning a ball python, you're in luck. In states like New Jersey, it's legal to keep these sub-Saharan African natives. In fact, you don't even need a permit or license to have one in many places.

Some exceptions are New York, Iowa, and the city of Baltimore, where pythons are banned. Florida prohibits pythons, as well, unless you have a permit issued before 2010.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

© Shutterstock

If your first apartment didn't satisfy your cockroach craving, you might consider owning a Madagascar hissing cockroach. The only thing that could make a standard cockroach more appealing is the ability to hiss at you from across the room. Originating from their namesake African country, the Madagascar hissing cockroach doesn't have wings like many other breeds. They do grow unusually large, though - as much as two or three inches long.

It's perfectly legal to own Madagascar hissing cockroaches in the United States, but some states, like Florida, reportedly require special permits. It's also important to keep in mind that their bodies and feces can harbor certain types of mold dangerous to humans.

Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pig

© Shutterstock

Though not common, pot-bellied pigs are kept as pets in many American households. There's no one specific type of Vietnamese pot-bellied pig; in all likelihood, the ones in the US descend from a variety of different pot-bellied pig breeds native to Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Pot-bellied pigs can be aggressive, but they're also known to be gentle, devoted, and affectionate when brought up properly. They are also sometimes utilized as therapy or service animals. It's important to check with your local wildlife agency to make sure your area allows pot-bellied pigs as pets, as states like South Dakota have outlawed "non-domestic pigs."


Made with in NYC

4th of July,7,Abu Dhabi,2,Accessories,234,Acne,13,Adventure,32,Adventure Travel,638,Advice,255,Africa,26,African Food,2,AIDS,1,Air Travel,150,Alabama,5,Alaska,20,Alberta,1,Alcohol,4,All About Beer,1,All About Wine,2,Alternative Treatments,4,America,77,American Food,5,Amsterdam,2,Android,11,Anguilla,3,Animal,367,Animal Health,1,Animals,103,Anniversary,1,Anniversary Cake,11,Antarctica,7,Anti-aging,49,Antigua,3,Appetizers & Snacks,2,Apple,11,Apps,16,Argentina,15,Arizona,19,Arkansas,2,Armenia,1,Asia Travel,47,Asian Food,7,Asthma,4,Athens,3,Austin,8,Australia,92,Australian Food,1,Austria,13,Autism,1,Auto Insurance,1,Auto Show,52,Autos,283,Azerbaijan,1,Baby Shower Cake,29,Back Pain,25,Bags,10,Bahamas,13,Balance Work & Life,50,Banana Cakes,2,Bangladesh,8,Barn Finds,1,Bathroom,43,Be a Better Manager,33,Beach Travel,58,Beaded Dress,2,Beards and Shaving,29,Beauty,1888,Beauty & Style,35,Beef Recipes,7,Belarus,1,Belgium,9,Belize,15,Bermuda,5,Best Products,17,Better Partner,7,Beverages,3,Bhutan,9,Bills to Pay,35,Birds,4,Birth Control,1,Birthday Cake,109,Blue Lagoon,2,Blueberry Cake,11,Bolivia,3,Books,1,Botswana,3,Brazil,38,Bread,11,Breads,1,Break Room,12,Breakfast & Brunch,6,Breakup,5,Breakups,3,breast,1,Breasts,69,Broken Hearts,1,Brownie,8,Brunei,1,Budget Travel,97,Bundt Cake,30,Business Skills,102,Butter Cake,52,Buying,1,By Region,3,Cake Decorating,113,Cakes,54,California,109,Cambodia,4,Camera,6,Canada,80,Cancer,73,Car Shows,1,Car Tech,2,Caramel Cake,5,Career,159,Career Advice,298,Career Choice,125,Career Growth,180,Career Paths,24,Career Problem,8,Caribbean,45,Caribbean & Mexico,5,Carrot Cake,22,Cats,49,Celebrity,17,Celebrity Dress,2,Celebs,1,Ceremonial Cake,9,Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles,1,Cheese Recipes,4,Cheesecakes,251,Chicago,7,Chicago Auto Show,2,Chicken Recipes,14,Chiffon Cake,5,Children's Health,21,Chile,7,China,21,Chocolate Cake,395,Christmas,35,Christmas Cake,23,Christmas Travel,14,Classic Cars,39,Cleaning Tips,144,Clinical Practice,1,Clothes,1,Cocktail Recipes,2,Coconut Cake,21,Coffee,1,Coffee Cake,15,Coliseum,1,Colombia,18,Colorado,32,Columbia,3,Companies,2,Compassion,1,Computing,16,Connecticut,4,Consumer Electronics Show,5,Cookies,10,Cooking,8,Corporate Travel,2,Costa Rica,13,Country Travel,249,Creative,309,Creative Idea,22,Creative Ideas,37,Croatia,15,Cruiser Travel,16,Cuba,18,Cultural Travel,66,Cupcake,322,Customs & Classics,2,Czech Republic,6,D.C.,2,Dandruff,1,Dating,8,Dating Advice,31,Dating Advice for Women,1,Dating Tips,4,Decor,23,Decorating Ideas,181,Delaware,1,Demotivational,636,Denmark,12,Dental Health,26,Dentistry,1,Depression,24,Desert Travel,1,Desserts,3,Detroit Auto Show,4,Diabetes,25,Diet,131,Dining Out,3,Dinner,14,Disease,116,Divorce,12,DIY,112,DIY Fashion,34,Dogs,156,Doughnuts,5,Dress,29,Drink,27,Drinks,1,Drinks & Cocktails,4,Driving,3,Drugs,3,Dubai,15,Ears,2,East Africa,4,Easter,1,Easter Island,1,Easter Travel,1,Eco Travel,18,Ecuador,7,Education,87,Eggs,3,Egypt,4,Electronics,4,Electronics and Gadgets,2,Emirates,1,England,13,Entertainment,148,Enthusiasts,131,Entrepreneurship,40,Estonia,2,Eswatini,1,Ethiopia,2,Europe,110,European Food,8,Exercises,51,Eye,300,Eye Health,28,Eyebrow,56,Eyelash,20,Face,54,Facts,284,Fall Travel,43,Family,16,Family Travel,128,Faroe Island,1,Fashion,395,Fashion for Kids,2,Fashion for Man,12,Fashion for Woman,31,Fat Loss,91,Father's Day Cake,4,Father's Day Travel,1,Featured,212,Features,1913,Fertility,2,Festival Travel,25,Fiji,6,Finance,12,Finland,16,Fish & Seafood,13,Fitness,1177,Fitness & Exercise,219,Florida,69,Food,165,Food and Drink,14,Food Recipes,7,France,37,Frankfurt Motor Show,2,Free Travel,3,French,6,French Polynesia,5,Friendship,17,Fruit & Veggie Recipes,8,Fruitcake,70,Fruits,4,Fuel Economy,1,Fun,42,Funny,546,Gadgets,31,Galapagos,3,Games,12,Garden,24,Gardening,276,Gearheads,1,General,7,Geneva Motor Show,3,Georgia,14,Germany,18,Get Healthy,63,Ghana,2,Google,15,Graduation Cake,2,Gratitude,1,Greece,37,Green Living,5,Greenland,1,Grooming,89,Guatemala,2,Hair,1264,Hair Care,317,Hair Color,299,Hairstyle,65,Hairstyles,855,Halloween,41,Halloween Cake,12,Halloween Travel,9,Happiness,16,Hawaii,53,Hayden Panettiere,1,Headache,22,Health,845,Health & Fitness,300,Health Care,491,Health Insurance,1,Healthcare Tech,6,Healthy,12,Healthy Drinks,31,Healthy Eating,186,Healthy Habits,159,Healthy Living,345,Hearing,1,Hiking Travel,63,HIV/AIDS,4,Holiday Travel,28,Holland,1,home,31,Home & Garden,205,Home and Decor,483,Honeymoon Travel,128,Hong Kong,13,Horoscope,31,Hot Rod Power Tour,1,Hotels,71,Housekeeper,8,Hungary,3,Ice cream Cake,21,Iceland,41,Idaho,4,Ideas,11,Illinois,13,Imports,1,Impress a Girl,3,Impress Women,4,Independence Day Travel,1,India,36,Indiana,5,Indonesia,13,Indoor Gardening,69,Industry,5,Inspiration,58,Insurance,5,Internet,19,Internship,8,Interview Skills,37,Investing,12,iPad,2,iPhone,6,Iraq,1,Ireland,36,Island,60,islands,2,Israel,9,Italy,56,Jamaica,8,Japan,44,Jewelry,13,Job Search,47,Jordan,6,Just For Fun,2,Kansas,6,Kentucky,2,Kenya,2,Kids,1,Kids & Pets,10,Kitchen,67,Koala,1,Korea,2,Kyrgyzstan,1,Lamb,2,Laptops,4,Latin America,3,Latin American Food,1,Latvia,1,Laundry,6,Layer Cake,95,Leadership,44,Legs,1,Lemon Cake,18,Life,1,Life Hacks,273,LifeStyle,886,Lips,134,Lithuania,2,London,24,Long Distance Relationship,1,Los Angeles Auto Show,14,Louisiana,9,Love,80,Lowa,4,Lunch,5,Luxembourg,1,Luxury Travel,35,Maine,6,Maintenance,3,Makeup,608,Makeup & Beauty,11,Makeup Tips,77,Malaysia,1,Maldives,15,Malta,2,Mango Cake,3,Manicure,10,Marketing,10,Markets,11,Marriage,81,Marshmallow,3,Maryland,6,Massachusetts,9,Massage,5,Mauritius,6,Meditation,35,Men & Women,18,Men's Health,14,Menstruation,21,Mental Health,302,Mexico,74,Miami,13,Michigan,5,Microsoft,6,Middle Eastern Food,2,Mind,3,Mississippi,2,Missouri,7,Mobile,22,Moldova,1,Monaco,1,Money & Career,21,Monkey,1,Montana,12,Morocco,20,Mother's Day Travel,1,Motherhood,16,Motivation,2,Motorcycles,106,Motorsports,2,Mousse,2,Muffins,9,Mug Cake,14,Multiple Sclerosis,1,Muscle Cars,4,Muscle Cars & Hot Rods,3,Muscle Gain,2,Myanmar,9,Nail Art,195,Nails,252,Namibia,4,Nature,4,Nature Travel,102,Nepal,6,Netherlands,11,Nevada,23,Nevis,1,New Bikes,2,New Car Deals,1,New England,5,New Jersey,2,New Mexico,6,New Year Fashion,6,New Year's Day Travel,6,New York,55,New York Auto Show,3,New York City,20,New Zealand,47,Newfoundland,1,Newlyweds,1,News,334,Nicaragua,2,North America,11,North Carolina,6,North Dakota,1,North Ireland,1,Northern Ireland,1,Norway,20,Nutrition,447,Occasional Travel,9,Oceania,1,Offbeat,643,Ohio,6,Oman,5,Online Date Tips,1,Operating Systems,2,Oral,4,Oregon,10,outdoor,3,Outfits,166,Ownership,61,Pain,24,Painting,16,Pakistan,2,Panama,5,Pancake,19,Panda,1,Panna Cotta,3,Paraguay,1,Parenting,370,Paris,23,Paris Motor Show,4,Pasta,2,Pastry,7,Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance,2,Pedicure,4,Penguin,4,Pennsylvania,10,People & Places,88,Perfumes,14,Personal Finance,164,Peru,21,Pets,169,Phoenix,1,Photo Feature,1,Pie,27,Pimple,3,Plum Cake,1,Poke Cake,10,Poland,3,Popular Ingredients,26,Pork Recipes,7,Portable Media,14,Portugal,21,Pound Cake,55,Prague,1,Pregnancy,112,Premium,1,Printer,2,Protein Bars,1,Psychology,1,Pudding,9,Puerto Rico,7,Pumpkin Cake,45,Qatar,6,Quick & Easy Recipes,11,Real Estate,72,Recalls,4,Recipe,1098,Recipes,52,Recipes & Meal Ideas,3,Recipes By Course,5,Relationship,137,Relationship Advice,70,Relationship Advice for Men,1,Relationship Advice for Women,5,Relationship Problems,23,Relationship Secrets,6,Relationships,53,Research,94,Resort,11,Restaurants & News,13,Resume,11,Retirement,10,Reviews,1,Rhode Island,2,River Travel,2,Road Trips,49,Romania,4,Romantic Getaways,15,Rome,5,Russia,16,Safety,5,Saint Lucia,1,Saint Patrick's Day Travel,1,Salad,6,San Miguel de Allende,1,Science & Tech,66,Scotland,10,Seasonal,56,Seasonal Travel,59,Security,9,Self Help,14,Self-Care,3,SEMA Show,5,Sex,7,Sexual Health,19,Shanghai Auto Show,7,Shaving,1,Sheet Cake,20,Shirt,4,Shoes,29,Shopping,10,Shots & Shooters,1,Side Dishes,4,Sightseeing Tours,2,Singapore,18,Ski Resorts,10,Skin,429,Skin Caare,1,Skin Care,609,Sleep,62,Slovenia,6,Small Business,163,Smartphone,28,Smile,1,Smoothies & Juices,3,Snacks,1,Social Media,44,Solo Travel,24,Solomon Islands,1,Somoa,1,Soth Africa,1,South Africa,14,South America,3,South Carolina,4,South Dakota,5,South Korea,3,South Pacific,2,Space Travel,14,Spain,33,Special,30,Special Cake,579,Special Feature,113,Special Features,448,Sponge Cake,15,Sports,22,Sports and Exotics,4,Sports Cars,8,Spring Travel,23,Squirrel,1,Sri Lanka,6,Strawberry Cake,22,Street Fashion,8,Stress Relief,35,Stroke,2,Student Travel,1,Style Guide,25,Summer Travel,53,Summer Vacation,8,Supercars,10,Sweden,19,Swiss Alps,1,Switzerland,20,Tahiti,1,Taiwan,3,Tanzania,1,Tarts,12,Tattoos,81,Taxes,7,Teas,2,Tech,89,Tech Advice,12,Tech Education,7,Tech Hacks,19,Tech Updates,2,Technology,13,Teen Advice,1,Teeth,5,Tennessee,6,Texas,57,Thailand,31,Thanksgiving Cake,4,Thanksgiving Travel,5,Therapy,3,Things to Do,165,Tibet,2,Tips,259,Tips & Tricks,6,Tokyo Motor Show,2,Tools & Skills,16,Top Stocks,1,Top Stories,1,Traditional Cake,4,Train Travel,23,Training,1,Transportation,22,Travel,221,Travel Advice,64,Travel Apps,1,Travel Guide,40,Travel Tips,149,Trends,7,Trucks,1,True Health,5,Tunisia,2,Turkey,10,Turkish,1,Tuscany,1,TV,2,UAE,10,UK,40,Ukrine,1,Understanding Women,9,Urban Travel,47,Uruguary,1,USA,629,Utah,12,Uzbekistan,1,Vacation Travel,245,Valentine's Day Cake,7,Valentine's Day Travel,1,Vanilla Cake,17,Vegetables,3,Vehicle Travel,2,Venezuela,1,Vermont,4,Victoria Falls,1,Video,5,Vietnam,5,Virginia,5,Waffles,3,Washington,15,Washington DC,20,Waxing,19,Web & Social,17,Wedding,73,Wedding Cake,549,Wedding Dress,30,Weddings,39,Weddings Travel,4,wei,1,Weight Gain,29,Weight Loss,755,Weird,172,Wellness,193,West Indies,2,Wi-Fi,2,Wildlife Travel,13,Winter Travel,56,Wisconsin,5,Women Lifestyle,23,Women's,112,Women's Health,173,Work Environment,77,Workout,8,Workouts,81,Worldwide,155,Wyoming,2,xxx,1,Yemen,1,Yoga,85,YouTube,3,Zadar,2,Zambia,3,Zimbabwe,4,
News: The Weirdest Animals You Can Legally Own In The US
The Weirdest Animals You Can Legally Own In The US
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read More Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy