Top 5 Wildlife Species That Are Illegal to Own in California

Although many residents may not be aware of it, the State of California’s pet ownership laws are among the strictest in the United States. Along with the expected illegalities of owning exotic pets like bears and lions, the Golden State also prohibits ownership of other animal species that may not be so obvious. We reveal 5 of these species below.

Ferrets (Mustela putorius furo)

Due to their energy, cute appearance, and comical antics, ferrets are an increasingly popular choice for American pet lovers. However, according to California law, ferrets that become abandoned or that escape will place native birds and animals at significant risk. Therefore, the import, transport, and possession of ferrets is not legal in California unless accompanied by a purpose-specific permit.

Gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus)

Another highly popular pet, the gerbil represents an animal species that’s illegal for Californians to own. The reasons for this are two-fold. Because California’s climate is much like the desert habitat where gerbils thrive in the wild, the concern is that released or escaped gerbils will breed and form large colonies that could cause irreparable damage to native flora and fauna, as well as crops. Other rodents like chinchillas, rats, and mice, however, are legal to own.

Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus)

Their ability to roll themselves up into a spiky ball along with their diminutive size are just two of many reasons why people choose the hedgehog as a pet. However, if you are living in California, you should know that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife prohibits hedgehog ownership. This animal can also threaten native species if abandoned or escaped. As well, hedgehogs can transmit salmonella and ringworm to humans if their quills penetrate the skin.

Monkeys (Primate)

monkey sitting on the ground

Monkeys, chimpanzees, and other animals classified as non-human primates are all illegal to own as pets in California. Primates are considered to be threats, both to public health and safety and native wildlife and agriculture in the state of California. They are, however, permitted to be owned by labs, zoos, and those wishing to train them for the purpose of appearing in television and film productions.

Quaker Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus)

Also known as the Monk parakeet and Quaker parrot, Quaker parakeets are the last, but certainly not the most benign, animal species illegal to own in California. This bird species can not only readily adapt to a range of temperatures and conditions, but their population can grow extremely rapidly, allowing them to easily become an invasive species if released into the wild.

Large flocks of Quaker parakeets have been known to devastate local bird populations via the destruction of their natural resources. They can also destroy buildings. This is because they are social birds that live and nest in large groups. All of these reasons make them illegal to own as pets in California, even for limited purposes, according to the state’s fish and game code.

Have You Seen Any of the Above or Other Species?

Despite the fact that the above species, as well as sugar gliders, fur-ranch foxes, and many others are all illegal to own as pets in California, many choose to ignore the law and the risks to state wildlife and public health.

That being said, if you see any of these animals in your neighborhood, it’s important to get in touch with an experienced wild animal removal service. Animal Capture Wildlife Control has over 20 years of animal removal experience and an award-winning service record. We invite you to visit our website to learn more about our timely, professional, and reliable wildlife removal services.