6 Legal Exotic Pets in Washington State


In the state of Washington, a select few exotic animals are permitted to be kept as pets. These animals are not included in the list of illegal animals in Washington State, thus making their possession legal under state law. However, it is important to note that individual counties or cities within Washington State may have their own regulations concerning the ownership of exotic pets. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you consult your local ordinances prior to considering the ownership of any of the following exotic animals in Washington State:

1. Capybara

  • Price: $1,000 to $3,000
  • Lifespan: Up to 12 years in human care
A pet Capybara sleeping

Under state law, you don't need a permit to keep Capybaras as exotic pets in Washington State. Capybaras, the largest rodent species in the world, have gained popularity as exotic pets among animal enthusiasts in the United States. However, their suitability as household companions requires careful consideration due to various factors.

Capybaras are highly social animals and thrive in large social groups; therefore, they require constant interaction and should never be kept alone. Additionally, these semi-aquatic creatures need access to a large body of water for swimming and cooling down during hot weather. Creating an appropriate environment that mimics their natural habitat is crucial for their well-being. Furthermore, capybaras have complex dietary requirements consisting mainly of grasses and plants, necessitating specialized diets and regular veterinary care to ensure optimal health.

2. Sugar Glider

  • Price: $100 to $200
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
A pet Sugar Glider

You don't need a permit or license to keep a Sugar Glider as an exotic pet in the State of Washington. Sugar gliders, scientifically known as Petaurus breviceps, have gained popularity as pets due to their adorable appearance and engaging behavior. While they may seem like an ideal pet choice for some individuals, it is important to consider the specific needs of these small marsupials. Sugar gliders thrive in a social environment and require a significant amount of daily interaction and mental stimulation from their owners.

Additionally, their diet necessitates a careful balance of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and specialized supplements. Housing arrangements should be spacious with plenty of vertical space for climbing and exercise.

3. African Pygmy Hedgehog

  • Price: $100 to $300
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years in human care
An African Pygmy Hedgehog in the wild

African Pygmy Hedgehogs are legally permitted to be owned in Washington State according to state law. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended that you verify the regulations specific to your locality before obtaining one.

The African Pygmy Hedgehog, scientifically known as Atelerix albiventris, is a fascinating and unique exotic pet choice for the dedicated and knowledgeable owner. These small spiky mammals originate from Central Africa but have gained popularity in the pet trade due to their docile nature and low maintenance requirements. However, it is crucial to recognize that despite their adorable appearance, hedgehogs should only be obtained by individuals who are willing to provide the appropriate care and understand their specific needs. African Pygmy Hedgehogs thrive on a balanced diet primarily consisting of high-quality cat food supplemented with insects or other protein sources.

4. Serval Cat

  • Price: $3,000 to $9,000
  • Lifespan: Up to 20 years in human care
A Serval Cat

Serval cats are legally permitted as pets in Washington State. However, it is crucial to be well-informed before considering ownership, as these magnificent creatures have a tendency to escape from homes across the United States. Additionally, it is essential to familiarize oneself with local regulations governing their ownership. Owning a Serval Cat can undoubtedly be a rewarding experience if approached responsibly and armed with comprehensive knowledge about their unique care requirements.

5. Iguana

  • Price: $40 to $100
  • Lifespan:  Up to 15 years in human care
A pet Iguana

It is legal to keep an iguana as a pet in Washington State. However, there are several important considerations to bear in mind before welcoming an iguana into your home.

Iguanas make fascinating and unique pets for those who have the knowledge, commitment, and resources to care for them properly. As exotic reptiles, owning an iguana comes with specific challenges that require expertise and dedication. These herbivorous creatures require a meticulously controlled environment, mimicking their natural habitat as closely as possible. A spacious enclosure with temperature gradients, UVB lighting, proper humidity levels, and an assortment of branches or perches for climbing is essential for their overall well-being.

Additionally, a well-balanced diet consisting mainly of leafy greens and vegetables fortified with calcium supplements must be provided to ensure optimal nutrition. Due to their size potential (up to six feet), regular handling and socialization from an early age are crucial to prevent aggression or territorial behavior in adulthood.

6. Ball Python

  • Price: $100 to $250 
  • Lifespan: Up to 30 years in captivity
A pet Ball Python

Among the most popular snake species kept as pets in the United States are ball pythons. Fortunately, these pythons are non-venomous, making it perfectly legal to own one in Seattle and the wider Washington State area. If you are considering welcoming a pet snake into your family, it is essential to have it thoroughly examined by a qualified veterinarian. Following the examination, the veterinarian will provide you with a Certificate of Veterinarian Inspection, ensuring the health and well-being of your new reptilian companion.


Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)

- -
To Top