When you think of exotic animals, you may think of lions and tigers and bears — oh my! But what about creepy crawlies like scorpions and spiders that just might give you a heart attack? While many people love the idea of owning an exotic animal, they’re often unaware that it’s illegal to do so in America. Find out which exotic animals are legal in America and learn about the consequences for getting caught with one that isn’t.
This article will go over how to get an exotics animal legally through a breeding license or how to buy one from another country. It will also explain what the consequences are if you get caught with it.
Exotic Animals in Canada
In Canada, exotic animals that are kept as pets are usually not allowed. There are some exceptions, however. For example, if you own roosters (which are legal in the country), you are allowed to keep them so long as they don’t cause any trouble and aren’t felt to be a danger to humans or other animals. Along with it being illegal to keep them as pets in Canada, there is a fine of $1000 for each animal you own.
If you have an exotic animal from another country and want to transport it across the border into your home country for keeping purposes, the law states that the animal cannot have been imported illegally and must be accompanied by proper documentation from the exporting country.
People who are caught with exotic animals that have not been granted the proper authorization face heavy fines. This can also include the confiscation of the animal and even jail time depending on your state or country’s law.
Exotic Animals in the United Kingdom
The situation in the UK is quite similar to what is happening in Canada. It is illegal for anyone to keep a wild animal as a pet, but there are some exceptions. For example, if you own a falcon, it’s okay to keep as a pet so long as it was bred in captivity and has permission from relevant authorities.
It’s also possible for people to own certain types of pets in the UK. For example, wild animals that are native to the UK can be kept as pets so long as their are registered and kept in line with safety laws. The same goes for animals that come from North America or Japan.
Exotic Animals in Australia
The law regarding keeping exotic animals in Australia is very strict and is continuously being updated. In other words, it’s hard to keep any sort of wild animal at all, especially if it was caught in the wild. The only animals that are allowed to be kept in the country include:
Native Australian species such as kangaroos, crocodiles and koalas
Some non-native species so long as they were bred in captivity or came from an approved country such as North America or Japan (basically anywhere but Africa)
If you want to import a non-native animal into Australia, you must apply for a license two months prior to arrival. You must provide background and identification information about the animal, a health certificate and proof of vaccination against rabies.
There are also a few special cases in which exotic animals can be imported into the country. For example, you may be able to transport live Australian native animals across state lines so long as it was inoculated for protection against all forms of disease. You may also bring your pet koala back to Australia after traveling abroad.
Exotic Animals in New Zealand
In New Zealand, there is no limit on the number of native or wild animals that you can keep as pets. As long as they have been properly registered, there are no restrictions on the species. You may also own a number of exotic animals if you are able to provide proof that they were imported from approved locations and have been kept in captivity.
The only thing you must do to keep an exotic animal as a pet is register with the New Zealand Department of Conservation so that any activity related to your pet’s care can be tracked. Since exotic animals aren’t native to New Zealand, it’s illegal for anyone to try and smuggle them in or out without special permission or license.
Exotic Animals in the United States
The United States has strict rules concerning exotic animals as pets. It’s illegal to own most types of wild animal without the proper documentation or license, although in some cases you will need to apply for a special permit. If you have a permit, there are also certain mandates that must be followed. For example, you may need to keep your exotic pet in a cage that is at least twice the size of your pet or provide proper identification and registration with state authorities.
If you want to bring an exotic animal across state lines, you will need to confirm that it can legally reside in both states and obtain permission from relevant authorities. You must also meet the individual requirements of your state. For example, in New York City, the Department of Health stipulates that exotic pets must be inspected by a veterinarian and certified fit for travel 72 hours before they are moved. In addition, all animals being transferred across state lines must have a health certificate showing proof of current vaccination against rabies.
If you want to own non-native animals or want to bring them over state lines, you will need to obtain a permit from the United States Department of Agriculture. This permit is known as an “affidavit of non-confinement.” It must be filled out and signed by a licensed veterinarian and the person buying or selling the animal. The seller of an exotic animal must also have a license from the USDA listing them as possessing this specific type of pet.
Non-native animals are also subject to other regulations such as the minimum cage size, proper housing, and basic health standards that apply to any other pet in America. These rules can vary from state to state, so it is important to check with your local authorities before bringing any new non-native critters into your home.
How To Get An Exotic Animal
This is the first red flag that people should look out for when you’re considering buying a cage full of exotic animals. If you do get caught in possession of an exotic animal, it will come with a pretty hefty fine and possible jail time. There are a few ways around this though. One way is through a breeding license.
An exotic animal can be legally bought through an official breeder’s association, which will require you to have a valid passport or birth certificate proving your identity as well as two references. This will allow you to get up to eight animals, although most people are allowed to go up to two or three.
As far as importing an animal, when a country permits that it must be done through the proper channels. The only exception is if you are planning on having the animal live in your backyard and don’t want to get caught with it. But this is a risky endeavor — and one I would recommend you not try until you are more experienced.
General Consequences of Illegal Exotic Animals
You won’t receive the same fines as someone who caught with a lion or bear — instead, you’ll probably be looking at close to half a million dollars and possibly jail time. This is especially true if you are found in possession of endangered species such as the African lion or tiger — both of which are considered endangered by UN regulations.
Ultimately, there are a lot of things to consider before getting an exotic animal. For one thing, you have to be prepared for the legal consequences and know who to go to if you get caught. Of course, you also need to be prepared for the financial costs that will inevitably come with having one.
Learn More and Share Your Thoughts About Exotic Animals on the comments section!