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What Animals are Considered Pets?

Animals come in all types, there are birds, reptiles, dogs, cats, all kinds of aquatic life, not to mention all the critters in the state. In the past, people have kept all kinds of animals, insects or reptiles as pets, so as someone relocating to Arizona, you might be wondering, what is legal and what is not.

Exotic Pets

Due to many different reasons, that he have read, there are many Arizonians that have had or want to own an "Exotic Pet". You might be wondering "What actually is an Exotic Pet?".

Arizona Regulation is governed by Arizona Administrative Code Title 12 (AZ ADC R12-4-401 to 430) and the AZ Game and Fish Commission is the regulatory organization. A.R.S. §17-306 restricts the transport, sale and possession of non-domesticated animals. Under certain circumstances, licenses are available, however if you are caught in violation of the statute, you may be charged with a class 4 felony. Restricted animals covered by the statute are detailed in the state regulations.

In addition, it's important to keep in mind that while Arizona may allow you to keep certain animals as pets, however, there are often county or city rules which further restrict or prohibit such ownership. Additionally, state laws are frequently changing as concerns for public safety and animal well being develop further, so you should always double check to see if there is any new or proposed state or local legislation.

Restricted wildlife includes many different species and the following is a quick list of animals YOU CANNOT KEEP AS PETS. Arizona Administrative Code Title R12-4-406 sets out a fairly comprehensive list of forbidden pets, but if you have questions or concerns, contact Fish and Game (See Resources Below).

  • Poisonous snakes, including rattle snakes, cobras, coral snakes, mambas and others;
  • Many other types of wild snake;
  • Gila monsters;
  • Many types of frogs, toads, and turtles that are normally found in the wild;
  • All non-domestic canines like wolves and coyotes are restricted;
  • Primates, including orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, macaques and spider monkeys;
  • Alligators, crocodiles, caimans and other members of the Crocodilla family;
  • Skunks, racoons, bears, foxes and weasels;
  • Jaguars, tigers, lions and other large cats;
  • Many species of fish and marine life.

Legal Pets

Now that we have listed the Exotic Pets that you CANNOT HAVE (unless you have a special license), you might be asking what kinds of pets CAN WE HAVE! Well, as stated above this is subject to your local laws, so make sure you talk to them first if it's questionable. First thing we would add, purchase pets from a respectable and fully license dealer (pet shop), never catch and keep any type of wildlife.

Disclaimer: Laws change all the time, so besides a domesticated dog or cat, you should check with local pet shops, AZ Fish and Game, local Police Departments!

  • Domesticated dogs (including Wolfdogs) and cats;
  • Domesticated rabbits;
  • Hamsters, Gerbils, and Rats from a licensed dealer;
  • Birds from a licensed dealer;
  • Hedgehogs, ferretts and Sugar Gliders;
  • Wallabies and kangaroos;
  • Savannah Cats;
  • Short-Tailed Opossums;
  • Capybaras,guinea pigs, chinchillas, Pot-bellied pigs, and agout;
  • American bison and water buffalo;
  • African rock pythons, Burmese pythons, and anacondas;
  • African crested porcupine and the Palawan or Philippine porcupine;
  • Cows;
  • Goats and sheep (depending on type);
  • Desert Tortoises (by adoption only.)



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