Animals That Are Legal To Own in North and South Dakota

The point of this article is to list both native and exotic animals that are legal to keep as pets in the states of North Dakota and South Dakota.

Two wild animals

Animals That Are Legal To Keep as Pets in North Dakota

Animals that are legal to keep as pets in South Dakota are divided into three categories: Category 1, 2, and 3. Animals that fall under Category 1 are considered domestic and not dangerous and therefore do not require a permit. North Dakota allows many exotic animals to be kept as pets, which can be found in Categories 1, 2, and 3.

"Category 1" animals include Guinea fowls, pigeons, ducks, geese, turkeys, ratites, rabbits, chinchillas, ranch foxes, ranch minks, all types of pheasants, peafowls, quails, hedgehogs, degus, chukars, gerbils, Guinea pigs, hamsters, sugar gliders, mice, rats, tropical freshwater and saltwater fish, and Nonvenomous reptiles. All of these animals may be kept as pets without a permit in the state of North Dakota.

Animals that fall into Category 2 are deemed to pose health or environmental risks and therefore require a permit.

"Category 2" animals include Pronghorns, deer, zebras, small and medium wild cats, shorebirds, bats, martens, waterfowls, upland game birds, crows, otters, wolverines, fishers, swift foxes, badgers, beavers, coyotes, red and gray foxes, minks, muskrats, weasels, opossums, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, and sheep. A permit is required to own "Category 2 animals" as pets in North Dakota.

Category 3 animals are considered "inherently dangerous" in North Dakota and require a permit to keep as pets.

"Category 3" animals include wild pigs and hogs, mountain lions, lions, tigers, cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, venomous reptiles, nonvenomous injurious reptiles, primates, Nondomestic sheep, nondomestic goats, Bears, and Wolves. North Dakota residents wishing to keep "Category 3" animals such as lions, mountain lions, cheetahs, and others as pets must obtain a permit and meet housing and care requirements.

Wolves, Wolf hybrids, and Mountain lions kept as pets in North Dakota are required by law to be tattooed inside the ear with an identification number obtained from the Board of Animal Health.

Skunks and Raccoons are banned from being kept as pets in North Dakota.

Animals That Are Legal To Keep as Pets in South Dakota

In South Dakota, all fur-bearing animals are considered wild except those that had been raised in captivity for two generations or imported from a breeder. A license is required to own fur-bearing animals that are considered wild except raccoons, skunks, red or gray foxes, coyotes, and jackrabbits.

The following birds may be kept as pets without a permit in South Dakota: Eurasian collared doves, rusty blackbirds, bronzed grackles, Brewer’s blackbirds, rock doves, house sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, European starlings, purple grackles, magpies, crows, and Brown-headed cowbirds.

A Personal Possession Permit is required to keep both native and exotic wild animals as pets in South Dakota. The Mount Rushmore State allows the personal possession of aardwolves, hyenas, bears, nonhuman primates, Asian and African elephants, tapirs, rhinos, even-toed ungulates, non-domestic canines, non-domestic felines, and nondomestic mustelids.

South Dakota pet owners are required by law to keep non-domestic animals in such a manner that they don't endanger the health and well-being of domestic animals. Any non-domestic animal that violates this law may be seized and killed, per South Dakota Administrative Rules.

Raccoon dogs are banned from being kept as pets in South Dakota.

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