List Of Exotic Pets Legal To Own In Texas

List Of Exotic Pets Legal To Own In Texas

Updated 6/24/22. People like to keep pets. That explains it in the simplest terms. We like to have animals around to play with, and give us some interaction. This has been the practice as far back as history goes, and people have always loved to share their living spaces with animals of different kinds, so there is no need to wonder why we are interested in the list of exotic pets legal to own in Texas.

But it seems that somewhere along with the line people got tired of keeping parrots, dogs, and cats, and started to turn their attention to more exotic -more uncommon animals that stood out, showed their status and attracted attention to them.

However, when a thing becomes popular it tends to go overboard. Obviously, if laws are not put in place, every household will have a pet tiger, and people will continue to purchase endangered species on a regular basis from legal and illegal sources. To prevent this, there are a few regulations stipulating some exotic animals that can be owned as pets in Texas. This article highlights some of them. Read below to find out some of the exotic animals you can own in Texas.

List Of Exotic Pets Legal To Own In Texas


    • Natural habitat: Madagascar
    • Size: Lemurs can range from 1.1 oz to 20 lbs depending on the species.
    • Diet: They mainly eat plant material, including leaves and fruit.
    • Lifespan: Some can live from 15 to 20 years, while Larger species can live over 30 years.
Lemur – photo by Skeeze, CC0 1.0, via Pixabay

When you mention Lemur people immediately imagine the Ring-tailed Lemur which is the most common species of this animal, which was made famous by the film Madagascar.  These animals actually do quite well in captivity. In zoos, they are reported to be one of the easiest mammals to handle, they socialize well, interact with humans, and are not feisty. The latter is an important factor,  considering the fact that they possess biting capabilities. Still, all primates are considered demanding pets and are therefore not suitable for people who are not willing to devote the needed time and attention.  All lemurs are considered endangered species. Because of this, they cannot be sold across state lines.

List Of Exotic Pets Legal To Own In Texas


    • Natural habitat: South and Central America.
    • Size: Sloths range in size from 7.9 to 17 lbs, depending on the particular species.
    • Diet: Sloths eat mostly leaves, but they also eat fruit and insects.
    • Lifespan: Sloths usually live for about 20 years in the wild, they are recorded to have lived for up to 30 years in captivity.
Sloth. image by rus33333, CC0 1.0, via Pixabay

Sloths are quite popular animals in Texas, as are their cousins the tamanduas.  Sloths are known to be extremely sensitive to stress (meaning you should leave them alone) and they also require stringent attention to their environment. A little dirtiness could result in a big sickness.   Luckily, they are not readily available, and when you can find them, the pricing for babies usually starts around $6000.


    • Natural habitat: Kinkajous can be found in the Americas, stretching from Sierra Madres in Mexico to southeastern Brazil.
    • Diet: Kinkajous mostly eats fruit, figs in particular.
    • Size: these small animals range between 16-24 inches in length, and usually weigh between 3-10 pounds.
    • Lifespan: They live for up to 23 years in captivity.
Kinkajou. photo by Ichtusvet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia

They look like monkeys but are more closely related to raccoons. The most remarkable feature of these animals is their long tongue with which they can reach for sweets and fruits. In the natural world, the kinkajou is a nocturnal animal. Perhaps that contributes to this animal’s reputation for having aggressive tendencies that are unpredictable. Therefore, a large space is needed for them to play around in, especially when they are not feeling particularly friendly. However, they are said to be quite friendly with their owners.


    • Natural habitat: Forests of South America, typically near water.
    • Size: Capybaras are quite big: they can range between 3.48-4.40 feet in length, and measure 20-24 inches in height from their feet to their heads. They can weigh between 77 to 146 pounds in weight.
    • Diet: They mainly eat grass, and have a fondness for aquatic plants.
    • Lifespan: Capybaras can live for between 8-10 years in captivity.
Capybara. photo by Karoly Lorentey, CC BY 2.0,via Flickr

The capybara is a giant rodent- the biggest in the family that includes rats, guinea pigs, and grasscutters of Africa. They have webbed feet, further proving that adaptation for water. These dog-sized animals love to swim and need a deep and wide water source to satisfy this need. Capybaras love their owners, and well-socialized individuals can let their owners show them off,  even walking on a leash like dogs.

Asian Leopard Cat

    • Natural habitat: Can be found throughout South, Southeast, and East Asia.
    • Size: These are roughly the same size as domestic cats.
    • Diet: Mostly eats small prey like rodents and small lizards.
    • Lifespan: They typically live for up to 13 years in captivity.
Asian Leopard Cat. photo by Drew Avery CC-BY 2.0 Via Flickr

Asian Leopard Cats are a wild species of cats that are found naturally in Southern and Southeast Asia. They are mostly recognized by their spots which make them look like small leopards.  These cats are small but mighty- they are challenging animals to own and can be wary of human interaction. There are, of course, more friendly with their owners.


    • Natural habitat: Plains of Australia.
    • Size: Kangaroos can grow to be as tall as 6’7″, and can weigh up to 200 pounds.
    • Diet: Kangaroos are herbivores. They commonly graze on grass and succulent plants.
    • Lifespan: Kangaroos can live over 20 years in captivity.
Kangaroo; photo by Ron Knight is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Kangaroos are social animals. They are Marsaupials-animals that are closely related to rodents. They eat strictly plant matter and are giants which should not be caged or house trained, but rather, given a large area to roam about, especially with other animals of their own kind. Another factor is that they require adequate fencing to keep them contained. They can jump over four feet high and leap 15 feet in the distance. They can, however, be friendly, and good to show off to friends and visitors.


    • Natural habitat: South America.
    • Size: The largest species of this animal can grow to be over nine inches and weigh up to 14 oz.
    • Diet: They have a varied diet, including insects, fruit, and sap.
    • Lifespan: They can live from 10-20 years in captivity.
Callitrichid; image by Christina Gallivan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Callitrichids are small monkeys that are endemic to the Americas. Members of this family include marmosets and tamarins. Due to their small size, there are virtually no restrictions from the authorities preventing or regulating ownership of these animals. Due to their small size, these animals are among the most popular primate species to keep. Unfortunately, these monkeys are quite messy and have a strong smell, making them a poor choice as indoor pets.

Spotted Genet

    • Natural habitat: Native to Africa, north of the Sahara, and also Southern Africa. They can also be found in Southwestern Europe.
    • Size: They usually range between 17-22 inches in length, and can weigh up to 4.4 pounds.
    • Diet: Has a varied diet of insects, birds, fruit, and small mammals.
    • Lifespan: Up to 13 years in captivity.
Spotted Genet
Spotted Genet. image by Bernard DUPONT (CC BY-SA 2.0) Via Flickr

Spotted Genets are uniquely patterned: they have the shape of a mongoose, the spotted patterns of a leopard, and the ringed tail of a lemur. They are similar in appearance to the Southwestern ring-tailed cat, which is illegal to own. They love to climb trees but also come down to search the ground for small animals for food. They are not pets that like to be handled, or to cuddle; they can be feisty.


    • Natural habitat: The Americas: from Southwestern US to northern Uruguay.
    • Size: They typically range from 13-27 inches in length, and can stand 12 inches tall at the shoulder. They can also range between 4.4 and 17.6 pounds in weight.
    • Diet: small invertebrates, and fruit.
    • Lifespan: They can live for up to 16 years in captivity.
Coatimundi. image by Kenneth Lu is licensed under CC BY 2.0

These are medium-sized animals that are part of a large family including the mountain coati, white-nosed, and South American red coati. They are roughly the size of a big house cat. They need large spaces to play around in. They are available in pet stores, but it will require some paperwork to have them because they are protected by the state.


Orangutans are governed by the Great Ape Laws and, like chimps, must be registered under the Dangerous Wild Animal Act. If an inexperienced person is able to keep one of these primates as a pet, the individual and those around them may be in grave danger. Great Apes’ behaviors and abilities, particularly in captivity, can make them unpredictable.

It is legal to keep apes as pets under state law. Some ape species are classified as “dangerous wild animals,” and their possession is heavily regulated; others are not, and their possession is virtually unregulated.


    • Natural habitat: Forests of Africa.
    • Size: These are small animals, typically around 12 inches in length on average and between 2.6 and 3.3 pounds in weight.
    • Diet: They eat a wide range of things, including Insects, fruit, and tree sap.
    • Lifespan: They can live for up to 12 to 16 years in captivity.

Bushbabies, also known as galagos, are normally and naturally nocturnal primates. However, they are not monkeys; they are more closely related to the lemurs of Madagascar. In their native Africa, very few have actually seen them, and there are many mysterious folk tales about them. They have the habit of rubbing themselves with their own urine, which produces a strong smell that makes them unlikely candidates for house pets.


    • Natural Habitat: Russia, China, India, Malaysia, Sumatra
    • Size: Tigers can vary in size according to species, but some species of tigers can grow to be 12 feet (3.9 meters ) in length, and weigh around 330 Pounds.
    • Tigers eat Meat. The diet can be narrowed down to Poultry or any other kind of domestic bird. To remove the predatory instinct, however, they should not be fed with live animals.
    • Tigers can live for up to 20 years in captivity.

Tigers are probably the biggest of the Big Cats. Surprisingly, however, they are quite tameable. Tigers have a long history of association with humans, having participated in the games in the colosseum, and other ancient theaters. In the present day Tigers continue to thrill crowds in circus shows around the world. In zoos, they are reported to be quite cooperative with handlers, especially those with whom they have become accustomed due to long association. In Texas, there are quite a number of tigers kept in people’s backyards. However, by law there a few stipulations: one of which is that you must prove that you have adequate funds to provide for your Tiger, including housing and feeding.

Other Exotic animals that you can keep as pets in Texas are:

  • Finger Monkeys
  • Hedgehogs
  • Squirrels
  • Snakes

(native species of poisonous species) can be kept as pets, but species such as the reticulated python, African rock python, Asiatic rock python, Green anacondas, and the South African python require a lot of paperwork to be owned in Texas.

Prohibited Animals – Texas Exotic Animal Law

If an animal is not prohibited or requires a permit, it can be kept as a pet. However, no person may own more than 6 animals of any kind at any given time and no more than 25 non-game wildlife animals. Captive-bred coatimundi can be kept as pets, but proof of legal purchase is required. Permits are not required in any county west of the Pecos River with fewer than 25,000 people.

Keeping an alligator as a pet necessitates a special permit from the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

To own “dangerous wild animals,” owners must have a Certificate of Registration (CPR), which includes:

Some animals that are prohibited or require a permit in Texas, include:

  • Chimpanzees
  • Cheetahs
  • Jackals
  • Tigers
  • Cougars
  • Lynx
  • Baboons
  • Gorillas
  • Jaguars
  • Coyotes
  • Bobcats
  • Hybrids
  • Orangutans
  • Leopards
  • Lions
  • Bears
  • Ocelots

Endangered species are not permitted to be kept as pets.

  • Invasive species fish and shellfish
  • Wolves
  • Indigenous birds
  • Diamondback terrapins
  • Bats

For the following snakes, pet owners must have a Residential Controlled Exotic Snake Permit:

  • Asiatic rock pythons
  • African rock pythons
  • Green anacondas
  • Reticulated pythons
  • Southern Africa pythons
  • Exotic venomous snakes

Exotic pet license Texas

The links below provide information on various permits issued by Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Wildlife Division. If you want to apply for one of these permits, you must first download and fill out the necessary paperwork (s). Only applications on paper with original signatures will be accepted.

Texas Statutes about Exotic Animals

More Resources on Texas Legal Exotic Pets

Texas Exotic Animal Laws
EXOTIC ANIMALS Exotic venomous snakes, African rock pythons, Asiatic rock pythons, green anacondas, reticulated pythons, and Southern African pythons require a Controlled Exotic Snake Permit (divided into recreational and commercial), and sales receipts count as temporary 21-day permits. Commercial permits require daily records.

Quick Answer: What Exotic Pets Are Legal In Texas? – Buy a …
What kind of exotic animals can you own in Texas? 10 Exotic Pets That Are Legal in Texas. What Are the Laws on Exotic Pets in Texas? Everything is bigger in Texas, so they say. What to Know Before Getting an Exotic Pet. Here are some things to think about before getting an exotic pet of any type. Lemur. Natural habitat: Madagascar. Sloth …

What Kind Of Exotic Animals Can You Own In Texas? Here’s A …
Tigers As of 2019, there are a total of 45 tigers registered to legal owners in the state of Texas. And six of those tigers are in Potter County. Caring for a tiger is no easy feat.

Pets – Animal Law – Guides at Texas State Law Library
Section 42.092 of the Texas Penal Code This section sets out the criminal offense known as “Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals.” The definition for the word “animal” as used in this statute includes “a domesticated living creature, including any stray or feral cat or dog.” Section 42.10 of the Texas Penal Code

PDF Exotics in Texas
uninspected venison entering Texas from other states. The harvest and processing of venison and exotic animal meat in Texas for commercial use require inspection by state-licensed meat inspectors ( the commercial sale of meat from native game animals is prohibited under state law). Operators of zoos,

14 Animals That Are Surprisingly Legal to Own As Pets
From lions to tigers to bears, some of the exotic animals that are legal to own in the US will surely surprise you. Though it may be legal to own some of these animals, many experts advise against it.

Exotic Pets: 10 Unique Animals + Where They Are Legal to Own
Although mostly adorable and sweet, capybaras can be a challenging pet. They do better in groups as they are extremely social animals, so pet owners should avoid getting a single capybara. This semi-aquatic rodent is legal to own in Texas and Pennsylvania. In some states, they are legal but require licenses.

Texas Exotic Animals | Breeders of Unusual Pets
Texas Exotic Animals is a small local exotic animal breeder in Northeast Texas. My name is Pam and I specialize in breeding unusual kinds of pets. This is a lifelong passion of mine that I have pursued as a hobby for as long as I can remember. I have worked as a volunteer for different exotic ranches, herpetological societies, and wildlife …

Exotic Animal Laws by State – FindLaw
In addition to federal laws governing animal ownership and treatment, every state has certain prohibitions or restrictions on which exotic animals can be owned as pets. Whether you already own an exotic animal, are thinking about purchasing one, or have been harmed by someone else’s pet, contact a personal injury attorney to get a better handle …

Wild Animals – Animal Law – Guides at Texas State Law Library
Texas Parks and Wildlife Regulations on wildlife including necessary permits for various species. Animals regulated include game animals, game birds, deer, exotic species, threatened and endangered species, bobcats, raptors, alligators, “fur-bearing” animals (beavers, raccoons, foxes, minks, and others).

Large & Small Exotic animals for sale in Texas with Prices
Looking for Exotic animals for sale in Texas? Browse photos and descriptions of 1000 of Texas Exotic animals for sale in Texas of many breeds available right now! Page: 1

Janda Exotics Animal Ranch | Exotic Pets and Animals
Janda Exotics Animal Ranch is a state and federally licensed private zoo and professional zoological breeding facility proudly located in Kingsbury, Texas. We are a family-owned and operated exotic ranch built from the ground up.

Exotic Animals For Sale In East Texas | Exotic Pets
Bringing Exotic Pets & People Together Since 1990 Tri-County Exotics is an exotic animal and feed store in Winnsboro, TX. We sell animals from all over the world to exotic pet lovers in East Texas. View Our Current Selections

Exotic Animal Breeders in Texas
Address: Bulverde, Tx We specialize in breeding high-quality common & super exotic African hoofstock both pen & ranch raised. We raise Addax, kudu, wildebeest, springbok, grants zebra, eland, Persian ibex, Nubian ibex, markhor, gemsbok, Dama gazelle, impala, sitatunga, Transcaspian urial & more.

What Kind Of Exotic Pets Can You Own In Texas? – Buy a tiger
In most areas of Texas, if you want to own a tiger, there is nothing to stop you. The state has no regulations when it comes to exotic animals. And federal laws do not apply because most of the Texas tigers are considered private pets. Texas police departments also have to deal with tigers on the run.

For Sale | Texas Exotic Animals
Available Animals White-nosed coati NAME: Oswald DOB: 28/05/2021 GENDER: Male PRICE: $1000 Great personality Ring-tailed lemur NAME: Preston DOB: 01/05/2021 GENDER: Male PRICE: $2,500 Just another test ad

Birthday Parties | Critters Exotic Pets | United States
Critters Exotic Pets is a locally women-owned pet store specializing in reptiles, exotic pets, standard pets, and their supplies. We also provide grooming services for all household pets. We also provide birthday parties and educational events sharing our love and passion for animals.

23 thoughts on “List Of Exotic Pets Legal To Own In Texas”

  1. This site makes me sick. You make it sound like owning an animal like a tiger is no big deal. What fun it will be as they are quite tame! They don’t belong in a cage in a backyard in Texas. They will end up sick, malnourished and dead or turned over to a refuge thanks to your lack of humanity and regulations.

    1. They are simply providing factual information for people with questions. The people that run this website are probably animal lovers and would never put any animal in harms way. I understand your concern as it’s a concern of mine as well, however be angry at the people buying the animals, not the people just providing information to curious citizens.

    2. You have full right to be upset about the way things are put and under proper care and with the right amount of space that is provided the animal will be perfectly fine and you still have to legally buy the animal and most people who have one have a exotics license and have been approved for the adoption of this animal. You cannot get mad about this website saying what is and what is not allowed in Texas, the only thing you have the right to do is state your opinion and be upset about the people who are mistreating these beautiful creatures.

    3. I think you missed their point. They were literally saying that why laws are necessary for regulation on ownong exotic pets. Because it is a big deal. Smh

  2. Can you own a Sable as a pet it isnt listed on here but its a species of martin and is naturally found in the forest enviroments of russia

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