10 Legal Exotic Pets in Arkansas

Many pet owners in the United States love wild exotic animals so much that they want to keep them as pets. However, the issue is whether your state allows the ownership of exotic pets. Fortunately, every state has exotic animal laws which allow certain types of animals to be kept as pets. In this article, we are going to look at ten exotic animals that you can legally own in the State of Arkansas.

Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that while it may be legal to own certain exotic animals in Arkansas, a city or county ordinance can further restrict or prohibit such possession. In addition, I recommend you always check your local animal ordinances before purchasing an exotic pet, as state laws are frequently changing due to concerns for public safety and animal wellbeing.

Arkansas allows many different exotic animals to be kept as pets without a permit, including the:

1. Norway rat

A Norway rat

Also known as the brown rat, the Norway rats are native to northern China, despite being called the Norway rat. As large members of the mouse family, Norway rats measure 16 inches in length and weigh from 0.5 to just over 1 pound. The average lifespan of Norway rats in human care is four years. In the wild, they may live up to two years.

2. Emu

Owner walking Pet Emu

You can keep the second-tallest living bird as a pet in Arkansas. Emus are pretty docile, which is one of the primary reasons they make good pets. In a YouTube video, an Australian farmer shared how his pet Emu eats locusts and pest grubs and loves cuddles and selfie pics. However, Emus may make lovely pets, but they will require a great deal of your time and patience, as they have specific needs. According to Denver Zoo, Emus live up to 10 years in the wild and up to 35 years in human care.

3. Domestic ferret

A white ferret

Ferrets may be kept as pets in Arkansas without a permit. Ferrets were once illegal in several US states, but as they became popular pets in the 1980s and 1990s, most of these laws were rescinded. They make highly intelligent pets with the ability to learn to see humans as companions and form strong bonds with their owners. On average, Ferrets live for five to nine years.

4. Guinea Pig

A Pet Guinea Pig

It is known far and wide that Guinea pigs make great pets. This species of rodent can live for many years, which makes it more enjoyable than most other rodents. Guinea pigs live up to eight years in human care. They are playful and easy to care for but require careful handling. They make wonderful pets for families with children. Buying a Guinea pig from a breeder in the United States can cost you from $25 to $50 on average. However, keeping Guinea pigs as pets can cost you between $500 and $800 a year, according to Money Management International.

5. Llama

Pet Llama

Llamas are allowed as pets in Arkansas. In fact, they are increasingly becoming popular pets in the United States thanks to their mild manners, cleanliness, and friendly dispositions. How much does a llama cost in the US? The average price of a llama is from $500 to as much as $5,000, depending on the breeder. The typical lifespan of Llamas is 20 years. The oldest Llama ever on record celebrated its 27th birthday in February 2023. You may consider adding this large mammal to your family if a canine or a feline seems too traditional. Here is an adorable video of a pet Llama.

6. African Pygmy Hedgehog

Pet Pygmy Hedgehog

You can keep a Pygmy hedgehog as a pet in Arkansas. This solitary animal is nocturnal and can often roam for up to three miles a night in the wild. Pygmy hedgehogs require a moderate amount of care and make excellent pets for busy people. The African pygmy hedgehog lives up to 10 years in human care and no more than 3 years in the wild.

7. Bearded dragons

A Pet Bearded dragons

Bearded dragons, Chinese water dragons, Veiled chameleons, Monitor lizards, Iguanas, Tegus, and Caimans are legal to keep as pets in Arkansas State.

8. Ball python

A pet Ball python

Also known as the royal python, the Ball python is admired for its behavior of curling itself up into a tight ball. According to Reptiles Magazine, this python species is the world's most popular pet python. The life expectancy of Ball pythons in the wild is 10 years. In human care, ball pythons can live up to 30 years or more. The oldest ball python or record lived to be 47 years old. As of 2021, a Ball python in St. Louis zoo is estimated to be 63 years old.

9. Blood python

a pet blood python

This non-venomous and medium-sized snake can be kept as a pet in Arkansas.

10. West African mud turtle

A pet West African mud turtle

The West African mud turtle is known for its adaptability and interesting personality such as the ability to right itself using their neck muscles when turned upside-down. They have moderate care needs and make great pets because of their relatively easygoing nature.

Legal Native Wildlife Pets in Arkansas

It is legal to keep the following native wildlife pets in Arkansas:

  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes
  • Red and gray foxes
  • Opossums
  • Rabbits
  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels

However, it is illegal to possess more than six of any combination of these Legal Native Wildlife Pets per household, according to ARKANSAS’S CAPTIVE WILDLIFE REGULATIONS.

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