Can You Have a Pet Zebra in The UK?


In the United Kingdom, it is illegal to keep a pet zebra without obtaining a special licence. The legislation governing exotic animals, such as zebras, falls under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. This act was introduced to ensure that individuals who choose to keep wild animals as pets do so responsibly and have the necessary knowledge and resources to provide adequate care for these species. Under this law, potential owners must obtain a license from their local council, which involves meeting strict criteria regarding accommodation, welfare standards, security measures, and animal experience.

In the UK, Zebras are considered dangerous wild animals due to their unpredictable nature and strength. Even with a license in place, regular inspections may be conducted by the council or appointed inspectors to ensure compliance with the licensing conditions. If you wish to own a pet zebra in the UK, you need to thoroughly research both the legal requirements and the specific needs of the animal.

How Much Does It Cost To Get The Licence?

In order to legally own a pet zebra in the United Kingdom, individuals are required to apply for and obtain a Dangerous Wild Animals license from their local councils. The cost of this licence varies across different regions in the UK, as each council sets its own fees. Generally, the price can range from £150 to £600 annually, depending on multiple factors like the type and number of animals owned, as well as additional considerations specific to each local authority.

It is worth noting that acquiring an Exotic Animal Licence is not solely dependent on payment; applicants must also provide evidence of appropriate living conditions and care for these unique creatures, ensuring their welfare needs are met adequately within a domestic setting. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to refusal or even revocation of the licence, which could result in legal consequences for individuals who persist in keeping exotic animals without proper authorization.

Moreover, your application for a license may be declined if you have a conviction under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.

How Much Land Do You Need For a Pet Zebra in The UK?

The land size requirement for horses is equivalent to that of zebras, given that horses are not significantly larger than zebras in terms of size. According to the UK's Code of Practice for the welfare of horses, it is generally advised that a Zebra would need around 1.25 to 2.5 acres of high-quality grazing land if no additional feeding is provided. 

However, if the Zebra is primarily kept indoors and the grazing areas are only used occasionally, a smaller area may suffice. In cases where stabling or a yard area is not accessible, it is crucial to have a securely enclosed hard-standing area. This space would facilitate routine and emergency treatments, including farriery, dentistry, and veterinary care.

Zebras, like horses, have the ability to thrive outdoors all year round, as long as they have access to shelter that protects them from the harsh elements, including prevailing winds, intense summer sun, and bothersome flies. This shelter can either be naturally occurring, such as trees or hedges, or it can be man-made, like a field shelter. The choice of shelter depends on the specific field environment and the type of zebra being considered.

Please be aware that if you fail to meet the property size requirement, your application for a zebra ownership license may be rejected.

How Much Does a Pet Zebra Cost in The UK?

A pet zebra is an intriguing and exotic choice for animal enthusiasts in the UK, but owning one comes with a hefty price tag that reflects its rarity. The cost of a pet zebra can vary dramatically depending on factors such as age, gender, breed, and training level. As an estimate, the initial purchase price for a young zebra ranges from £3,000 to £10,000. However, you also need to consider recurring expenses like shelter construction, veterinary care specialized for zebras, dietary requirements comprising primarily of fresh grasses and hay, and proper licensing, which may add further costs.

Potential buyers should contact authorized private breeders or consult zoological organizations like Port Lympne Reserve or Highland Wildlife Park which may offer assistance or provide referrals to legally obtainable zebras within the UK.

Can Zebras Be Domesticated?

Zebras have long been admired for their striking black and white stripes, but can they be domesticated like horses? While it is technically possible to train a zebra, truly domesticating them has proven to be a challenging feat. Unlike horses, zebras possess strong instincts and are highly territorial in the wild. These factors make them difficult to tame and control.

However, there have been a few instances of successful partial domestication. For example, in 2021, Bev Griffiths, an animal lover who runs Equine Dreams Equestrian Centre near Doncaster, shared adorable photos of her bonding with her beloved pet zebra dubbed the "tamest zebra" in the UK, according to Mirror.

the "tamest zebra" in the UK and its owner

Nevertheless, even these semi-domesticated zebras retain their wild behaviors and cannot be fully trusted. The unpredictable nature of zebras makes them unsuitable for most domestic settings, despite their aesthetic appeal and potential usefulness in certain contexts.


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