Top 10 Legal Exotic Pets in Delaware


Any animal that is not native to Delaware is deemed exotic. While the state of Delaware regulates most species of exotic animals, it makes an exemption for certain exotic animals which are not regulated and may be kept as pets without a permit or license. So, if you live in the state of Delaware and are looking for a unique exotic pet that will make a wonderful addition to your household, check out the list below.

1. Hamsters

A pet Hamster

  • Life expectancy: 2 – 3 years
  • Price: $5 to 50
Born with a full set of 16 teeth, Hamsters are rodents that have become established as popular small pets in the United States. The Golden or Syrian hamster is known as the best species of hamster that makes a great pet. It is legal to keep a Hamster as an exotic pet without a permit in Delaware.

2. Gerbils

A pet Mongolian gerbil

  • Life expectancy: 3 – 4 years
  • Price: $5 to 20
By all accounts, Gerbils make good household pets. They are active and sociable animals that do best with their own species. Both Gerbils and Hamsters make excellent pets. However, gerbils are popularly known to be easier to care for, more docile, and less likely to bite. Hamsters, on the other hand, do not like being held for long and will bite when scared or handled roughly. The most common species of gerbil kept as an exotic pet in the United States is the Mongolian gerbil.

3. Guinea Pigs

A cute Guinea Pig

  • Life expectancy: 4 to 8 years
  • Price: $20 to $40 
Also known as the cavy or domestic cavy, the domestic guinea pig is legal to keep as an exotic pet in the state of Delaware. Unlike Gerbils and Hamsters, Guinea Pigs live for up to eight years, so you can enjoy them for a long time. Guinea pigs do well when kept in pairs.

4. Rabbits

A pet Rabbit

  • Life expectancy: 5 – 10 years
  • Price: $20 to $100
Delaware residents can keep the Domestic rabbit as an exotic pet without obtaining a permit or license. By all accounts, Rabbits make excellent pets but are not easy to care for, as they have specific needs when it comes to their diet, socialization, housing, and exercise.

5. Opossums

A Virginia opossum in a tree

  • Life expectancy: 4 years (Virginia opossum)
  • Price: $200 to $300 (Virginia opossum)
Even though it is legal to keep them as exotic pets in Delaware, Opossums are generally not recommended to be kept as household pets.

6. Ferrets

A pet Sable ferret

  • Life expectancy: 5 – 10 years
  • Price: $50 to $350
Ferrets make great pets and are legal to own in many States, including Delaware. The Sable ferret is the most common species of ferret kept as a pet in The United States.

7. Sugar Gliders

A pet Sugar Glider

  • Life expectancy: 5 – 10 years
  • Price: $350 to $1500
As nocturnal gliding possums, Sugar Gliders are small lively, inquisitive, playful, and intelligent mammals that make good pets and bond with their owners if given lots of attention.

8. Hedgehogs

A pet African pygmy hedgehog

  • Life expectancy: 10 years (African pygmy hedgehog)
  • Price: $100 to $300
You may keep a Hedgehog as an exotic pet without a permit in the state of Delaware. The African pygmy hedgehog, otherwise known as the four-toed hedgehog, is the most common species of hedgehog kept as a pet.

9. Bearded Dragons

A pet Bearded Dragon

  • Life expectancy: 10 - 15 years
  • Price: $60 to $100
As one of the most popular easy-to-tame reptiles kept as pets in the United States, Bearded Dragons are known to be highly friendly, curious, docile, and extremely responsive to their owners. In addition, Bearded dragons are excellent beginner exotic pets. If you are looking to keep an exotic reptile to keep as a pet in Delaware, a Bearded Dragon might be the right choice for you.

10. Iguanas

A pet Iguana

  • Life expectancy: 20 years
  • Price: $20 to $500
As one of the most popular exotic pet lizards in the United States, domesticated Iguanas are known to be quite affectionate to their owners. By all accounts, Iguanas can be tough to tame and require a significant time investment and a high level of care.

Other exotic animals that are legal to keep as pets without a permit in Delaware, include Agama lizards, Asian Water Dragons, Skinks, Tegus, Basilisk, Mice, Rats, Chinchillas, Chameleons, Geckos, and Swifts. Visit the Delaware Department of Agriculture's website for more information.


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