Exotic Animals That are Legal To Own as Pets in Alberta, Canada


If you are considering owning an exotic pet in the Canadian province of Alberta, below are some exotic animals that are legal to keep as pets in the province. However, while these exotic animals are legal to own under provincial laws, municipal bylaws may restrict the possession of certain species. So, it is important to check with your local authorities to learn about the bylaws that apply to the species you wish to own.

1. Hybrid Cats

Alberta allows two hybrid cat breeds, including the Savannah cat, and Bengal cat, to be kept as pets without a permit. The Bengal cat is an offspring of the Asian Leopard cat and a house cat while the Savannah cat is a cross between the African Serval cat and a house cat. Both hybrid cats, which originated from the United States, are considered domestic cats in Alberta, Canada. However, only F4 or greater Savannah cats and Bengal cats are allowed to be kept as pets without a permit in Alberta.

Furthermore, importing a Bengal or Savannah cat to Alberta may require a federal CITES permit. According to Savannah Canada, an F4 Savannah cat will cost you between $1,800 and $3,600 in Alberta. Some breeders charge between $1,300 and $2,000 for a Bengal Kitten in Canada.

2. Exotic Birds

You don't need a permit to keep the following exotic birds as pets in Alberta: Rock doves, European starlings, Red-winged blackbirds, Yellow-headed blackbirds, Brewer's blackbirds, Common grackles, Brown-headed cowbirds, Cockatiels, Lovebirds, Cockatoos, Conures, African grey parrots, Parrotlets, and House sparrows.

3. Vietnamese Pot-bellied

A Vietnamese Pot-bellied

Potbellied pigs are generally known to make charming, intelligent, and affectionate companions. While it is not illegal to keep a Potbellied pig as a pet in Alberta, it is not allowed within many city limits including, Sherwood Park, Edmonton, Calgary, and many other municipalities. Perhaps you may be allowed to own a Potbellied pig if you reside in a rural or agricultural area of Alberta. Buying a Potbellied pig in Alberta will cost you between $250 and $500, depending on the breeder.

4. Ball Python

A curled Ball Python

Native to Africa, Ball Pythons are nonvenomous snakes named for their ability to curl themselves up into a tight ball. You can legally keep a Ball Python as a pet in Alberta. Ball Pythons typically grow up to 5 feet in length and weigh up to 5 pounds. They live for up to 10 years in the wild and 30 years in human care. Acquiring a Ball python in Alberta could cost you between $99 and $500.

5. African Pygmy Hedgehog

An African Pygmy Hedgehog lying in grass

It is perfectly legal to keep an African pygmy hedgehog as an exotic pet in Alberta. Also known as four-toed hedgehogs, African pygmy hedgehogs need a moderate amount of care and are suitable as pets for people who have a 9-to-5 job. African pygmy hedgehogs usually grow between 6 and 10 inches in length and have a lifespan of up to 10 years in human care.

6. Sugar Glider

A Sugar Glider

Native to continental Australia and the island of New Guinea, Sugar gliders are named for their ability to glide through the air and for their predilection for sugary foods such as sap and nectar. Sugar gliders are legal to keep as pets in Alberta and by all accounts, they make great exotic pets.

7. Other Pocket Pets

In addition to Sugar gliders, other exotic pocket pets you can legally own in Alberta include Chinchillas, Guinea pigs, Common degus, Golden hamsters, Mongolian gerbils, Fancy mice, European ferrets, Iguanas, and Bearded dragons.

8. Common Marmoset Monkey

A Common Marmoset Monkey

In Alberta, all monkeys are classified as "Controlled Animals" except the Common marmoset monkey, which is legal to keep as a pet in the province. Also called white-tufted-ear marmosets, common Marmosets are highly intelligent New World monkeys that are commonly kept as pets around the world.

9. Capybara

A mother Capybara and her kids

You don't need to obtain a permit to keep Capybaras as pets in Alberta, Canada. Capybaras are social animals and therefore keeping only one Capybara as a pet is not recommended. In addition, it is recommended that you have the proper environment and knowledge of care before adopting pet Capybaras. As the largest living rodents in the world, Capybaras usually reach 50 – 62 cm in height, 100 to 130 cm in head and body length, and weigh from 35 to 66 kg.


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