This information is provided for informational purposes only.  Due to extensive amount of laws involved that are constantly changing, UAPPEAL and contributors of these guides cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information.


* Be sure to check the federal laws first as there are federal laws that ban certain species as pets even if they are legal in a state.  Some federal laws make it legal to possess a species but bans their interstate import in commerce meaning that they cannot be purchased across state lines (this does not affect moving with animals across state lines.). 

* The laws listed on the state pages only list whether a species to legal to possess and import according to that state's laws.  It does not include federal, local or other laws or policies that may apply.

* Species lists vary on each state page depending on each state's law.  Although not considered exotic or native wildlife, domestic livestock are often listed due to being included in state law or to clarify how the laws apply to them.

*Taking native wildlife usually requires a hunting or fishing license in addition to any required captive wildlife permits.   All laws must be followed, including daily bag and possession limits, seasons, size limits and locations.

*For states that do allow keeping wild-caught native species as pets, it is usually limited to game birds, game mammals, furbearers, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.  

Guide to legal pets


There are many questions about whether a certain animal is legal to have as a pet:

  • Can I have a pet monkey in Illinois? 
  • Can I collect native turtles and keep them as a pet in Colorado? 
  • Can I import a fennec fox and keep it as a pet in Idaho?

Our guides below list all animals (or categories of animals), and, to the best of our knowledge, whether each is legal to possess as pets, legal to import for pets, and/or legal to collect from the wild and keep as a pet.  It also states whether there are any known DNR/Game & Fish, Agriculture or Health permits needed for possession and import.

By-The-Way: The answers are that monkeys and all other nonhuman primates have been banned in Illinois since 2011, Colorado allows 12 total wild-caught box and painted turtles as pets (nongame) along with unlimited common snapping turtles (small game), and Idaho bans all foxes as pets under its rabies laws.

Expected SUMMER 2019