This is only a guide of animals that MAY be legal in a state.  Due to the extensive amount of laws involved that are constantly changing, UAPPEAL cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information.

Users are responsible for checking all laws BEFORE getting an animal!


*Check the federal laws first!

Realistically, there are several species that are illegal to keep and/or import as pets, including: 

  • Marine mammals - Banned as pets under Marine Mammal Protection Act
  • Endangered/Threatened Species - Endangered Species Act bans possessing certain species as pets (sea turtles, gorillas, etc.) and bans import of others (lemurs, etc.)
  • Migratory Birds - Migratory Bird Treaty Act bans most native songbirds as pets and only allows certain captive-bred game birds
  • Bats - CDC bans import due to rabies concerns
  • Large Cats - Captive Wildlife Safety Act bans import of large cats as pets
  • Injurious Wildlife (constrictors, etc.) - Injurious Wildlife section of Lacy Act bans import

* Check local laws and other laws and policies!

Cities, counties, and townships may have animal, health or zoning ordinances and homeowner's associations may have their own policies about pets.

* Species lists vary depending on each state's law. 

Domestic livestock are often listed due to being included in state law or to clarify how the laws apply to them.

*Taking native wildlife from the wild usually requires an additional hunting or fishing license!

All laws must be followed, including daily bag and possession limits, seasons, size limits and locations.  Also, it is usually limited to game birds/mammals/fish, 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 Natural Resources/Game & Fish, Agriculture or Health permits needed for possession and import.

To answer the questions above: 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.