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10 Pets That Are Illegal To Own in The US

It’s sad when you or your kids fall in love with a fluffy pet only to find out that this furry is actually banned or restricted where you live. Each state has their own laws and it can be confusing to know which ones make it illegal to own certain exotic pets. This article will help you find out which pets are sometimes illegal in the US and exactly where.


Ferrets are a rather popular pet throughout the United States, but having one can get you in trouble in some places. Before the 1980s, ferrets were actually illegal pets in many areas across the U.S., but throughout the 80s and 90s, many legislatures changed or repealed their laws due to ferret’s growing popularity. Nevertheless, ferrets are still illegal to own in California, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and a few individual cities such as New York City and Washington DC. The states that prohibit these pets mainly do so out of concern for the effect on their ecosystem if ferrets were to escape.

Fennec Foxes

One of the smallest fox breeds, Fennec foxes are known for their adorably oversized ears. For this reason, they are a rather popular pet with people who like to own exotic animals; nevertheless, they are illegal in several places around the United States. States such as Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, and Washington completely ban them, while other states like Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas just require you to own a permit. In the areas where they are banned, legislators typically reference concerns about rabies transmission when giving their reasons for maintaining the ban.

Sugar Gliders

Sugar gliders are another relatively normal animal on this list, but they are still banned in several states across the United States, including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Utah. The reason for the ban varies based on the state, but some potential reasons include the large amount of space they require, the high noise level, and the potential threat they could pose to natural ecosystems.


Monkeys are brilliant and cute animals, and the people who do keep them as a pet love their monkey companions, but the truth is it is easier to talk about where you can have a monkey in the United States rather than listing all the states that you can’t. States such as North and South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, and Oklahoma do not currently have laws to prevent

people from owning primates, but it is pretty much completely illegal or strictly regulated everywhere else in the United States.

Quaker Parrots

There are so many different bird species that are completely legal to own as a pet, so it can surprise some people to see the quaker parrot on lists of illegal pets. But several states have made them completely illegal (California, Wyoming, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania), and even in the places where they are legal to own, it often requires getting various permits and licenses that can be rather difficult to get. The reason for this is because quaker parrots are highly adaptable and great at surviving, so if any get out, they can very quickly become a problematic invasive species.

Wolf Hybrids

Wolf hybrids are definitely one of the more controversial bans on this list. Some people absolutely love their wolf hybrids, but many people believe they are dangerous and unpredictable. According to the federal government, they are considered domestic pets, so the regulation of these animals is up to the states. Many states have decided to classify them as exotic and ban them completely. In states that do permit these animals as pets, there are a lot of strict regulations and laws because these animals are not like your typical dog. It takes a lot of expert knowledge to care for one successfully.


In comparison to some of the animals on this list, it is probably not a huge surprise that alligators are banned in many states since alligator bites can become fatal rather quickly. However, there are a few states that do allow residents to own alligators if they are able to get a permit, provide an enclosure that both keeps the animal in and intruders out, and are able to pass regular enclosure inspections.


Hedgehogs are adorable, tiny, and playful, which is why so many people like to keep them as a pet, but there are some states such as Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, and Pennsylvania that have prohibited these animals. For the most part, the places where these cute little spike balls are banned do so to prevent them from becoming an invasive species.


It might seem crazy to some to keep a skunk as a pet because of their nature to be quite smelly, but some people love to keep these animals as pets after getting their scent glands removed. However, they are still illegal in all but 17 states, and even in those states, it often depends on the city or region you live in. Because of how much variation there is in where skunks are illegal to keep as pets, it is best to reach out to your local government before bringing one home.


Lemurs, though not monkeys, are still considered a primate, so they are under similar legislation in most areas. In most states, you are at least required to get a permit before you can adopt a pet lemur, and in many states, it is banned completely. But even if you are able to get a permit, it is important to remember that lemurs are never truly domesticated and maintain many of their wild traits and instincts.

Wrapping Up

Even though these exotic pets are illegal to own in some parts of the US, you might get some comfort knowing that things might change. Many groups see the ban as an injustice and are trying to find legal means to put an end to it through law ans petitions. It did happen in some cases that the law was overturned and some animals became allowed overnight in some places.

Alternatively, you might find comfort in getting a pet that looks quite similar to the one you had your eyes on. True, an echidna is not exactly a hedgehog, but it’s spiky all the same!