Whether for seemingly good reasons or not, a number of cute critters are unlawful to own in many states. You’ll find out about five pets or would-be pets here, but if you’d like to know more about which animals are legal to own in your state, go to your state’s Fish and Game Department’s web page (it may be called the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources instead, or something similar).
Those cutest of creatures that resemble a shoe brush are unlawful to own in Washington, D.C., New York City, and six states: Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, and Pennsylvania. If you’d like to have a hedgehog as a pet, you may need to be patient. Importing hedgehogs is now illegal, so breeders have long waiting lists. If you live in a state where hedgehogs are legal, you’ll find a list of breeders at Hedgehog Central. Thinking of becoming a breeder yourself? Then you’ll need to obtain a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture if you’ll be having three or more breeders.
Ferrets are illegal in only two states, California and Hawaii, but since about 12.5% of the U.S. population resides in those two states, many are affected. Having said that, however, there are enough ferret owners here in Southern California to entice pet stores to keep ferret supplies on hand. So apparently, there’s not too much to be said here. If you think you might want an adorable ferret, you might do well to check out what many consider their not-so-cute aspects first.
Skunks exhibit a wonderful nature when given enough attention and are treated right, but skunks as pets are illegal in most U.S. states. According to the list at SkunkAspects.com, only two out of the few skunk-legal states allow them without any restrictions: Iowa and Wyoming. Oddly enough, skunks are illegal for the bad rap, now known to be false, that they are prone to rabies.
Parrots of the Quaker Variety
Who knew that Quakers could be so difficult? I’m referring to the so-called bird, not followers of Quakerism, of course. There are good reasons for keeping Quaker (or Monk) parrots from getting established in the wild: as a species they are very successful and may harm local bird populations, and they are definitely very damaging to crops. They come from Argentina, and in that country they consume 30% of the corn crop. They are not illegal everywhere, however, but in the following states: Hawaii, California, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wyoming. They are legal, but with some regulatory controls, in New York, Virginia, and Connecticut.
In the United States, unlike the United Kingdom (UK), owls as pets are illegal – everywhere. The reasoning is that since they are birds of prey, they are wild and not domestic animals. Owls in fact are very difficult to take care of and therefore would not make good pets. This is no doubt why the UK has a very unfortunate owls-as-former-pets problem.