Top 10 Legal Exotic Pets in Wyoming

What exotic animals are legal to keep as pets in the state of Wyoming? Wyoming Game and Fish Department allows several exotic animals to be kept as pets, most of which do not require a permit. In The Equality State, common exotic pets such as sugar gliders, hamsters, Virginia opossums, ferrets, Chinchillas, guinea pigs, pot-bellied pigs, and gerbils are not regulated by the Game and Fish Commission.

While various wildlife species are legal to own under Wyoming laws, local ordinances may be more restrictive. As such, you need to check your local laws, and ordinances before acquiring an exotic animal. With that in mind, below are the top ten legal exotic pets in Wyoming.

1. Monkeys

A Capuchin and a Spider Monkey

Keeping a primate as a pet is legal in many states, including Wyoming. However, Wyoming residents need to obtain a permit before keeping any species of monkey. Out of over 330 different monkey species available, the following seven monkey species are commonly kept as pets in the United States: Capuchins, Squirrel Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Marmosets, Guenons, Tamarins, and Macaques.

2. Cottontail Rabbits

two Cottontail Rabbits

A permit is required to possess a Cottontail Rabbit in the state of Wyoming. Cottontail rabbits are generally silent and solitary creatures that are most active between dusk and dawn. The average life expectancy of a Cottontail rabbit in captivity is 8 to 10 years.

3. Coatis

2 Coatimundis

Also known as Coatimundis, Coatis are legal to keep as pets with a permit in Wyoming. By all accounts, these mammals are intelligent and affectionate and possess a lifelong curiosity, agility and strength. Coatis live up to seven years in the wild and more than 14 years in human care. Acquiring a Coatimundi from a USDA-licensed breeder could cost between $500 and $1,500.

4. Emu

Emu and Emu chicks

Several states, including Wyoming, allow residents to keep Emus, the second-tallest living birds after ostriches, as pets. Wyoming residents do not need a permit to keep an Emu as a pet. Generally, Emus are docile and curious creatures that occasionally fight among themselves. They have an incredibly long lifespan of 35 years in captivity. Rich and creamy, Emus' avocado-like eggs are very similar to duck eggs and may be fried and eaten like a regular egg.

5. Red Foxes

2 Red Foxes

Red Foxes are legal to keep as pets in a few U.S. States including Wyoming. Pet lovers in Wyoming do not need to obtain a permit to own a Red Fox. However, importing a Red Fox to Wyoming is prohibited by Animal Damage Management Board Rules. Red Foxes are the second Fox species that make the best pet after the Fennec Fox.

6. Four-toed Hedgehogs

Two Four-toed Hedgehogs

The four-toed hedgehog is a species of hedgehog commonly kept as exotic pets in many U.S. States, including Wyoming. Also known as African pygmy hedgehogs, four-toed hedgehogs are active at night and have complex needs that can only be met in their natural habitat. As such, four-toed hedgehogs may not make suitable pets. In captivity, they live for up to 10 years.

7. Kangaroos

Two Kangaroos

Wyoming residents may obtain a permit to keep Kangaroos as pets. By all accounts, Kangaroos are not recommended to keep as exotic pets even if it is legal in your state. Kangaroos are shy and easily stressed and need plenty of room to run and graze.

8. Martens

two Martens

These weasel-like mammals are legal to keep as pets under a permit in Wyoming. However, Martens are very uncommon as pets in the United States, despite how cute they look.

9. Weasels

Two standing Weasels

A permit is required to keep a Weasel as an exotic pet in Wyoming. Unless provoked, Weasels are harmless to humans, however, they are generally not recommended as pets because they prey on livestock.

10. Ball Pythons

Two Ball Pythons with different color

You don't need a permit to own a Ball Python as an exotic pet in Wyoming. Ball Pythons are relatively small, ground-dwelling, non-venomous snakes named for their habit of curling themselves up into a ball. They are popularly recommended as pets for first-time snake owners. Ball Pythons' lifespan in the wild is 10 years. However, in captivity, Ball Pythons live for more than 30 years.

Other non-native and native animals that are legal to keep as pets in Wyoming, include North American Porcupines, Prairie Dogs, Pikas, Piranhas, Raccoon, native Salamanders, Domestic Rheas, Skunks, Domestic Vicunas, Squirrels, Muskrats, Mollusks, Domestic Mallards, Lizards, Jackrabbits, Gophers, Crustaceans, Domestic Camels, Bobcats, Nongame Birds, North American Beavers, American Badgers, and Bats.

For more information, visit Wyoming Game and Fish Department's website.

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