Top 9 Legal Exotic Pets in Maryland

What exotic animals are legal to keep as pets in the state of Maryland? The Old Line State allows a few exotic animals for residents to keep as pets and below is the list of the top nine most popular. However, owning some of these exotic pets may be restricted in some cities and counties, as local laws can ban animals that aren’t banned under state laws. So, before keeping any of the following exotic animals, check your local animal ordinances to ensure you are in full compliance with the laws.

1. Capybaras

TWO Capybaras

Capybaras are legal to keep as exotic pets in several states, including Maryland. By all accounts, Capybaras make good pets and are relatively easy to care for. They enjoy being petted and are friendly with other animals. Furthermore, Capybaras are social animals and as such, owning just one capybara won't keep the animal healthy and happy. On average, Capybaras live for 12 years as pets.

2. Iguanas

Two Green Iguanas

Ranging from 4 to 6.5 feet in length, Iguanas are large lizards that are legal to keep as pets in many states, including Maryland. In fact, Iguanas are one of the most popular lizards kept as pets in the United States. Though they are friendly and make excellent pets, Iguanas aren't easy to care for, as they have severe feeding and housing requirements. The Green Iguana is the most popular species of Iguana commonly kept as a pet.

3. Sugar gliders

Two Sugar gliders

Sugar gliders are one of the most popular pocket exotic pets in the country. They are legal to keep as pets in the state of Maryland. These nocturnal gliding possums are lovely, interesting, and energetic creatures that can make great exotic pets. By all accounts, Sugar gliders are social creatures and typically do well when kept in pairs. It will cost you between $100 and $500 to acquire a Sugar glider from a reputable breeder in the US.

4. Chinchillas

Pet Chinchillas

Maryland is one of the many states in which keeping Chinchillas as exotic pets is legal. Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents native to South America. The average lifespan of both Long-tailed chinchillas and Short-tailed chinchillas in captivity is 10 years. By all accounts, Chinchillas are attractive rodents that don't smell and make excellent pets for adults and older children.

5. Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pigs

Pet Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pigs

Pot-bellied Pigs are intelligent animals allowed to be kept as exotic pets in many states, including Maryland. Though Pot-bellied Pigs are legal to own under Maryland laws, some Maryland cities or towns may not allow them within their city limits. For example, the Town of Leonardtown, the county seat of St. Mary's County, Maryland, prohibits the keeping of pigs within the corporate limits of the Town. So, if you are considering owning a pet pig in Maryland, you might want to check your city or town's code of ordinances.

6. Hedgehogs

two African pygmy hedgehogs

The African pygmy hedgehog, also known as the four-toed hedgehog, is the most popular species of Hedgehogs commonly as exotic pets in the US. African pygmy hedgehogs have an average lifespan of 10 years in human care.

7. Guinea pigs

Pet Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are lovely and beautiful animals legal to keep as pets in Maryland and many other states. They have a lifespan of four to eight years in human care. Generally easy to tame, Guinea pigs require careful handling and a good quality diet rich in vitamin C. As social animals, Guinea pigs do best when kept in pairs.

8. Ball Pythons

The Ball python is one of the non-venomous snakes legal to keep as an exotic pet in the state of Maryland. A Ball python can live for 10 years in the wild and up to 30 years as a pet. As the most popular pet python in the United States and probably the whole world, Ball pythons do not usually bite, and for the most part, are generally well-mannered and easy to handle, which makes them an ideal pet snake for a first-time snake owner. You can get a Ball python for $20 to $50 in the US.

9. Axolotls

Pet Axolotls

It is legal to keep an Axolotl as a pet in Maryland. By all accounts, Axolotls make excellent pets. However, they are not recommended for people who have no experience with keeping amphibians. Acquiring an axolotl could cost you between $30 – $100 in the US. Axolotls have a life expectancy of ten to fifteen years.


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