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Weirdest Pets You Can Legally Own

Pets are a great addition to a family if everyone is willing to pitch in and care for the creature. We know that the most common pets people go for are dogs and cats. If a person in a family is allergic to either, the next choice is a bird.

When it comes to pets allowed in the United States, officials already have a list of exotic creatures listed as “illegal pets.” But there are a few exceptions, some requiring a license in addition to registering the animal. Here’s a list of the weirdest pets that America allows its residents to own:

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1. Capybara

Have you ever thought to yourself “what would it look like if rats were the size of dog?”? The Capybara, the largest rodent in the world, weighs in at a whopping 140 pounds. Although the fall into the rodent family, they spend as much time in the water as they do on land. If you plan on owning one of these hefty beasts, you’ll need to get them their own pool or water/land enclosure.

For being rodents, they are pretty cute. But because they are social creatures, you might find owning just one a challenging prospect. Make plans to adopt two or three if possible.

In both Texas and Pennsylvania, residents have the legal right to own one as they would a dog or cat. A few other states allow ownership of the creature under a specially acquired license. Check with your local registration office before bringing one home.

2. Bearded Dragon

This adorable cold-blooded creature originates from the country of Australia. Because they are so even-tempered and easy to care for, they make great first pets for kids.

At full maturity, they reach an average of two feet long, which is actually about the size of my house cat.

They love to be held, so you can hold in the same way you would cuddle a cat or small dog.

Sold in most pet stores across the United States, they are legal to own and require no special license.

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3. Serval

If you love large cats, then you have likely browsed around for a Maine Coon, a breed known for their bushy tails. And if already considered a breed that large, why not a Serval? Hailing from Africa, this exotic cat requires much different care than your typical house cat. They are not known for their aggression, but their innate survival instincts make them a little difficult.

Regardless, they are very affectionate and make excellent companions for the right owner. It’s legal in about half of the United States to own a Serval. There are no license requirements in Nevada, Idaho, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, or West Virginia. The states that do require licenses are Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Maine. All other states have made it illegal to own this type of cat.

4. Fennec Fox

This little canine also originates in Africa. Out of all the breeds in the world, the Fennec is the smallest to exist. The most they weight at full maturity is about four pounds. Some say their behavior is akin to dogs and cats.

They are playful as your pups and as independent as your felines. The average lifespan is about 10 to 15 years old, so one must be ready to commit to such a responsibility.

Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, and Washington are the only states where it is illegal to own a Fennec. You can own in all other states.

5. Wallaby

These marsupials are often referred to as “mini kangaroos.” Wallabies are as common as Kangaroo on the Australian continent but are often kept by residents of the United States as pets.

It is recommended that substantial research is done before committing to adopting a Wallaby.

You will need a large outdoor area, making them illegal within certain city limits. Some states may or may not require a license to own the animal, so check with local officials.

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6. Hedgehog

The inspiration behind Sonic, the game character, caring for these creatures is similar to that given to hamsters or guinea pigs. You’ll need the standard cage, proper food, water, and a little ‘house’ for them to hide in.

Most states allow individuals to own a hedgehog with the exception of Pennsylvania, Hawaii, California, Georgia, Arizona, and Maine. Depending on the state, it may be allowed with a permit.

7. Chinchilla

Chinchillas are a special type of rodent that require a great deal of patience along with expertise. They’re not one to be handled, but they enjoy playing. Get them a variety of toys to keep them entertained.

As long as your acquisition of one is not illegal, most states allow ownership without a license.

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