Can you own a sloth in Texas?

Buy a sloth in Texas

Here in Texas, having exotic pets is a growing trend. There are several options available if you want a pet other than a typical dog or cat, including sugar gliders, exotic birds, and even tigers, all of which may be found in Texas. Is it acceptable to keep exotic pets like monkeys and sloths in our state? Yes, but think twice before getting started.

In 2022,  Texas allows the ownership of two-toed pet sloths. Although their state laws may not specifically indicate it, some states might permit sloths. While keeping sloths as pets is legal in certain areas, others demand that you obtain a specific permit. Some regulations prohibit traveling over state boundaries with sloths, boarding them, and other limitations. To find out if it is acceptable for you to possess, ride, or transfer a two-toed sloth where you reside, get in touch with your state and local authority.

What States Can You Own a Sloth?

Sloths are exotic animals that can be found in a variety of habitats in Central and South America. As such, it is illegal to own a sloth as a pet in the United States. However, there are some states that allow people to keep sloths as pets with proper permits.

In the United States, it is illegal to own a sloth without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The FWS regulates the importation and ownership of exotic animals, including sloths. In order to obtain a permit, applicants must prove that they have adequate housing and care for their animal.

States, where you can own a sloth with proper permits, include Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Texas Exotic Animal Laws

You are in the appropriate state if you wish to keep an exotic pet. Texas has among the country’s most relaxed regulations regarding pet ownership. The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife is in charge of controlling animal ownership and regulation, yet practically anything goes. However, a license is required if you want to keep a sloth as a pet. You need only demonstrate that you can adequately care for and shelter your chosen animal in order to apply for and be approved for a permit.

According to the American Human Society, Texas has more exotic animals than any other state since there is a lack of oversight. But the price of these loose rules is paid by sloths and other unusual pets. Think about Sophia, a two-toed sloth who lives in Austin, Texas, before you go to the pet store.

Buying a Sloth

When acquiring a sloth, you should look for a reliable provider because the illicit pet trade also captures wild sloths for sale, which is against the law and highly unethical. Due to their poor adaptation to life in captivity, where they are more likely to perish, three-toed sloths are frequently sold illegally.

Sloths are expensive pets, usually costing $6,000 to $10,000 for a newborn born in captivity, which is the best option for most people. Avoid adult sloths unless you are buying from a reputable seller because they may have been unlawfully taken from the wild and will struggle in captivity.

Baby Sloth as Pet

Keeping a baby sloth as a pet is not recommended. Sloths are wild animals and are adapted to the environment of their natural habitats, so they may not be able to survive in an artificial environment like a home. Furthermore, sloths are slow-moving animals that can become stressed when taken out of their natural environment and handled by humans. They also require specialized diets and care which most people are unable to provide.

For these reasons, it is best to appreciate sloths from afar rather than attempt to keep one as a pet. Visiting an animal sanctuary or watching videos online can help you get close to these fascinating creatures without putting them in danger or compromising their well-being.

Sloths Can Live for 50 Years

Sloths have a 40-year lifespan. If you adopted a pet sloth and lived for 80 years, you would need to provide for it for half of that time. Veterinary costs and specialized nutrition requirements are additional costs. Sloths are adorable, especially when they are young, but they really shouldn’t be kept as pets.

A baby sloth needs constant attention. Even in the middle of the night, this involves 30-minute bottle-feeding sessions every 2.5 hours. Young sloths require bottle feeding for up to 6 months and don’t become totally independent until they are at least a year old. Do you possess that kind of free time? Additionally, due to their intricate digestive system, adult sloths require a unique diet.

What Can You Feed a Sloth?

Trying to mimic a sloth’s natural diet in captivity is one of the most difficult aspects of having this exotic pet. The majority of the leaves eaten by sloths are those on the trees in South and Central America. They must be fed at night because they spend around 20 hours a day sleeping and typically (in the wild) go foraging for food at night.

Sloth food

Feed a “leaf eater food,” such as Marion Leaf Eater Pellets or Mazuri High Fiber Sticks, which are what zoos feed their sloths. Lettuces, carrots, dandelion greens, apples,  sweet potatoes, green beans, and occasionally grapes are great treats in addition to the pellets. Your pet sloth cannot consume leaves from your backyard trees, and you should never consume leaves that have pesticides or other toxins on them.

Do Sloths Bite?

Sloths are not known for being aggressive animals, so the chances of them biting are fairly low. However, it is possible for sloths to bite if they feel threatened or scared. Sloths have sharp claws and teeth that can cause injury if they do bite.

In general, sloths are gentle and docile creatures that prefer to stay in their tree habitat and avoid contact with humans. They will usually only attempt to bite if they feel cornered or provoked. It is important to remember that sloths are wild animals and should be treated with respect when encountered in their natural environment.

If you come across a sloth in the wild, it is best to observe from a distance and maintain a respectful distance. This will help ensure the safety of both you and the animal.

Sloth Petting Zoo Texas

A sloth petting zoo in Texas may seem like a far-fetched idea, but there are actually a few places that offer the unique experience of getting up close and personal with these slow-moving creatures.

Houston Indoor Petting Zoo

(832) 479-0544

The Houston Indoor Petting Zoo is one of the best places to visit for sloth petting. Here you can get up close to two-toed sloths, learn more about their behavior and even have your picture taken with them.

The Sloth Spot

2311 Cross Timbers Rd #307 Flower Mound, Texas 78025; 972-355-5939

The Sloth Spot in Flower Mound, Texas is a one-of-a-kind experience that everyone should try. This unique animal sanctuary offers visitors the chance to interact with sloths in a safe and controlled environment. Visitors can take part in educational presentations and get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures. The staff is knowledgeable and passionate about their animals, making it an enjoyable experience for all ages.

The Sloth Spot also offers a variety of other activities such as yoga classes, art classes, and even birthday parties! They have an onsite cafe serving food and drinks, as well as a gift shop with sloth-related items for sale. It’s the perfect place to learn about sloths while having fun at the same time.

Overall, The Sloth Spot in Flower Mound, Texas is a great destination for those looking for an exciting and unique experience.

Austin Petting Zoo


The Austin Petting Zoo also offers an interactive sloth experience with their traveling animal petting zoo shows. Visitors can observe the animals from a distance or take part in their education programs to learn more about them. They also offer opportunities for visitors to feed and touch the animals under the guidance of trained staff members.

Finally, if you’re looking for a unique adventure, consider visiting Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch in San Antonio.

Sophia the Sloth – Star of Austin Exotic Pet Store

Sloths may look cute and cuddly, but they are actually wild animals that have not undergone the generations-long domestication that dogs and cats have. They can bite people even when they don’t appear to be hostile. The sloth is a native of South and Central America, where it dwells in rainforests and other similar habitats. They require a particular diet in addition to a lot of space to roam.

At Zoo Keeper Exotics in Austin, a rescue sloth named Sophia lives. She acts as a resource for anyone considering getting an exotic pet. Despite her endearing appearance, Sophia cannot be held. She also needs enough fresh fruit and vegetables to eat, as well as up to three acres of territory to explore. She requires a significant time commitment because sloths can live up to 30 years in captivity.

Reasons Why Sloths Are Not Good Pets

Why are sloths not good pets? A long back, the tale of a five-month-old newborn girl and her greatest friend—a pet sloth—took the internet by storm. The story was supported by images and a video that went viral immediately and drew worldwide attention.

Texas sloth ownership

The images are indeed adorable, and the ensuing media frenzy brought sloths back into the public eye, but we worry that the drawbacks may have overshadowed the advantages in this case. The top 5 reasons why sloths do not make good pets are as follows (and should not be brought into your home).

  • Sloths are untamed creatures.
  • Sloths prefer to be by themselves since they are solitary, wild creatures.
  • Sloths have large fangs (and they like to use them).
  • Sloths don’t exhibit overt stress symptoms.
  • The number of wild sloths is threatened by the sloth pet trade.

Wild sloths spend the majority of their time sleeping at night in their natural environments, while captive sloths may alter their sleeping patterns and spend more time awake during the day.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Owning a Pet Sloth

If you have the necessary resources (money, space, and time), keeping a sloth as a pet is simple. They are quite quiet and don’t need to work out, but they also dislike being stroked and would rather be awake at night. Since sloths require trees to climb and hot, humid weather all year long to survive, it might be difficult to provide the appropriate habitat and environment for them. It would take considerably less effort to see a sloth in the wild or at a zoo, and the reward would be identical.

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