Can You Own a Pet Capybara in The State of Georgia?


Capybaras are large rodents native to South America, known for their mild temperament and social nature. They are semi-aquatic and require access to water to swim and cool down. Capybaras can make affectionate and loyal pets, but they are not suitable for everyone. They need a lot of space to roam and access to a large body of water. They also require a specialized diet and regular veterinary care. In addition, capybaras are illegal to own as pets in a few US States, including Georgia.

A pet Capybara

In Georgia, owning a Capybara as a pet is a big no-no according to the state's Department of Natural Resources. These exotic animals are deemed unsuitable as house pets and are strictly prohibited. However, if you're keen on keeping a similar kind of animal, the Nutria is a viable alternative. Similar to the Capybara, the Nutria is a large, semiaquatic rodent that thrives on a herbivorous diet. So if you're looking for a unique and unconventional pet, the Nutria may just be the answer you're looking for.

Nutria vs Capybara

a Nutria vs a Capybara

Nutria and capybara are both semi-aquatic rodents commonly found in South America. While they may share some similarities in appearance, there are notable differences between the two. Nutria, also known as coypu, are smaller than capybara and have distinctive bright orange incisors. They are considered an invasive species in some areas due to their destructive impact on wetland habitats. 

Capybaras, on the other hand, are the largest rodents in the world and are often hunted for their meat and fur. They are also known for their social behavior and can often be found in groups near bodies of water. Overall, while both nutria and capybara are interesting animals, they have different characteristics and roles in their respective ecosystems.

One of the most noticeable differences is their tails - nutrias have long, rat-like tails, while capybaras don't have tails at all. In terms of appearance, nutrias can be mistaken for beavers or rats, while capybaras have a distinct stocky body shape that sets them apart from other rodents.

Do Nutrias Make Good Pets?

Nutrias, also known as coypu, have been praised by some as suitable pets due to their gentle nature and affection towards humans. However, it is worth noting that these animals are not commonly kept as pets and require specific living conditions that may not be feasible for most people. In addition, Nutrias can carry a range of diseases and parasites that can pose a risk to both humans and other pets. It is essential to research local animal ordinances before considering a Nutria as a pet and to take precautions to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

Despite the challenges, some individuals have successfully kept Nutrias as pets, such as the Louisiana couple who fought to keep their beloved 22-pound Nutria named Neuty after being told to get rid of it due to local restrictions. Although state officials later permitted the couple to keep their pet, this incident highlights the importance of understanding local animal ordinances before obtaining a pet nutria.

Animals That Are Legal To Own as Pets in Georgia

In the state of Georgia, there are various legal options for those interested in keeping rodents as pets. While Nutria is an option, there are also other rodents such as hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs that are allowed. Additionally, Georgia permits the ownership of some ungulates including American bison, water buffalos, and llamas. Sugar gliders and European ferrets are also among the animals that are legal to own as pets in Georgia. For bird enthusiasts, English sparrows, European starlings, and Hill mynas are just a few of the bird species that can be kept as pets in the Peach State.

Individuals in Georgia who require assistance with daily living activities due to permanent disability or disease are allowed to own one Capuchin service monkey. However, the ownership of such monkeys is restricted to individuals who meet these specific criteria. It is important to note that while these animals can be trained to assist with certain tasks, they are not suitable as pets for the general population.


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