11 Exotic Animals Accepted in NY

By: ROS Team

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In recent years, the allure of exotic animals as pets has captivated the hearts of many animal enthusiasts in New York (NY) and beyond.

These captivating creatures, ranging from majestic reptiles to colorful birds and charming small mammals, have found their way into homes and hearts as people seek unique companionship.

However, with the increasing interest in exotic pets comes the necessity for strict regulations and guidelines to ensure the welfare of both the animals and the community at large.

This blog post delves into the fascinating world of exotic animal ownership in New York and aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the types of exotic animals accepted in the state.

Overview of Exotic Animal Laws in NY

New York has implemented a comprehensive set of laws and regulations to govern the ownership and possession of exotic animals within the state.

These­ laws aim to find a delicate balance between the well-being of animals, safe­guarding the public, and addressing environme­ntal concerns.

As the de­mand for exotic pets grows, prospective­ owners must be well-informe­d about regulations and permits require­d for legal ownership. It is crucial to understand the­ responsibilities that come with owning such unique­ animals.

1. State-Specific Regulations:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) plays a significant role in overseeing exotic animal ownership.

The laws address various categories of exotic animals, including reptiles, birds, mammals, and fish. Each category may have specific requirements for ownership and permits.

2. Local Ordinances and Restrictions:

Apart from state regulations, some local municipalities within New York may have additional ordinances and restrictions on owning exotic animals.

It is essential for potential exotic pet owners to research and comply with local laws in their specific area.

3. Permits and Licenses Required:

Most exotic animals in New York require owners to obtain permits and licenses before bringing them home.

The process typically involves submitting detailed applications, providing information about the animal’s health, housing, and veterinary care arrangements, as well as undergoing inspections to ensure compliance with regulations.

4. Ecological and Public Safety Concerns:

The restrictions on owning certain exotic animals are primarily driven by concerns about the potential threat they pose to the environment and public safety.

Invasive species can disrupt local ecosystems, while dangerous animals may pose risks to their owners and the community.

5. Ensuring Compliance and Responsible Ownership:

Compliance with these laws and regulations is crucial to ensure the well-being of both the animals and the public.

Responsible exotic pet ownership involves not only meeting legal requirements but also educating oneself about the species’ needs, providing proper care, and being aware of the potential challenges associated with owning exotic animals.

What Pets are Legal in New York State?

New York allows the ownership of several exotic animal species as pets, subject to certain criteria and regulations. These captivating creatures have found their way into the hearts and homes of animal enthusiasts who are passionate about unique and extraordinary companionship.

Here are some of the exotic animals commonly accepted as pets in the state:


These raccoon-like creatures are known for their curiosity and social nature, making them intriguing companions for those willing to provide the proper care and attention.


Slow-moving and laid-back sloths have become a trendy choice for some pet owners seeking a unique and unconventional furry friend.

Binturong (Asian Bearcat):

Binturongs are fascinating animals with a distinctive scent and a prehensile tail. They are legal to own in NYC with the necessary permits.


While kangaroos may seem like creatures of the Australian outback, it is legal to own one in NYC if you meet the specific requirements set by the city’s authorities.


These spiky yet intriguing animals are allowed as pets in NYC, but owners must be aware of their unique needs and considerate handling.

Fennec Fox:

With their large ears and adorable appearance, Fennec foxes are popular exotic pets in NYC, provided you have the necessary permits.

Honey Glider:

These small, gliding marsupials from Australia are legal to keep as pets in NYC, but they require specialized care and attention.


Kinkajou are affectionate and playful animals that are legal to own in NYC with the appropriate permits.


Miniature versions of kangaroos and wallabies are fascinating animals that can be legally owned as pets in the city.


The largest rodent in the world, capybaras, are legal to own as pets in NYC, provided they are obtained from a licensed breeder or dealer.

Exotic Squirrels:

Certain types of exotic squirrels are allowed as pets in NYC, but it’s essential to research the specific species and their needs before considering ownership.

Specific Requirements for Each Permitted Species:

While these exotic animals are permitted, it is essential for owners to meet specific requirements to ensure their welfare and the safety of the community.

The state may have guidelines regarding the appropriate housing and enclosures for each species. Providing a suitable habitat, proper diet, and access to veterinary care is crucial to maintain the animals’ well-being.

Prospective owners should research and understand the needs of their chosen exotic pet species before bringing them home.

Additionally, adhering to responsible pet ownership practices will help foster a positive relationship between humans and these extraordinary creatures.

What Pets are illegal in New York State?

The following list includes some of the exotic animals that are not permitted to be owned or kept as pets, as stated by The Official Website of the City of New York:


This includes all species of wolves, such as gray wolves and red wolves, which are undomesticated and potentially dangerous in a residential setting.


All species of foxes, regardless of their size or origin, are not allowed to be kept as pets in New York.


Native to North America, coyotes are wild animals that are not suitable for domestication.


These carnivorous mammals, known for their distinct laughs, are not permitted due to their unpredictable behavior and specialized care requirements.


Native to Australia, dingoes are considered wild canines and are not allowed as pets in New York.


Various species of jackals, which are wild relatives of domestic dogs, are also on the prohibited list.

Other Undomesticated Dogs:

This category encompasses any wild canine species not explicitly mentioned above, including wild dog breeds from different parts of the world.


The king of the jungle is strictly prohibited from being kept as a pet due to the inherent dangers associated with their size and predatory nature.


Tigers, majestic yet powerful apex predators, are too dangerous and unpredictable to be domesticated.


These agile big cats, known for their stunning spotted coats, are not suitable for private ownership.


Native to the Americas, jaguars are powerful predators that require vast territories and are not suitable for captivity.


Also known as cougars, mountain lions, or panthers, these large cats are not permitted as pets due to safety concerns.


The world’s fastest land animals, cheetahs, are not allowed in New York as pets due to their specialized care needs and natural behaviors.


As with pumas and mountain lions, cougars are prohibited for private ownership.


These elusive wildcats, found in North America, are not allowed as pets due to their wild nature.


Various species of lynxes, with their characteristic tufted ears, are not permitted to be kept as pets in the state.

Other Undomesticated Cats:

Any wild feline species not explicitly listed above is also not allowed as a pet.


What is the most popular pet in New York?

The French bulldog is the most popular pet in New York.

Are pythons legal in NY?

Pythons are not legal to be kept as pets in New York.

Can I walk my dog in NYC?

It is not permitted for a person who owns or has control over a dog to allow the dog to be in any public place or an open or unfenced field next to a public place without effective restraint. The dog must be on a leash or chain that is no longer than six feet.

How many pets can you have in NYC?

The number of pets you can have in NYC is not specified by a specific city-wide limit. However, there are regulations in place to ensure the well-being of the animals and the living conditions within a residence.

The allowable­ number of pets may differ de­pending on factors such as the size of the­ living space, the type of pe­ts involved, and local zoning laws.

Exotic Pets Legal In NY: Bottom Line

In conclusion, New York allows the ownership of a select few exotic animals, opening the doors to unique and fascinating pet companions. Responsible pet owners can enjoy the wonder of these extraordinary creatures while adhering to the state’s regulations.

However, it’s essential to remember that exotic pets require specialized care, attention, and knowledge of their specific needs. Before bringing an exotic animal into your home, ensure that you are fully prepared to provide a loving and suitable environment for these remarkable creatures to thrive in their new New York abode.

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