Considering an Exotic Pet in Montana? Check the Banned List First
Most pet owners are satisfied with a dog or a cat.
They are the two most common pets in America, by far. Fish are near the top of the list and plenty of kids have talked their parents into letting them get a rabbit, hamster, or guinea pigs. Birds are somewhat popular, and more adventurous pet owners might have pet turtles, sugar gliders, creepy pet spiders, snakes, or a lizard.
Some people want pets that are much more exotic. If you're one of them, be sure you check Montanan's exotic pet regulations before potentially shelling out big bucks on something that can land you in hot water. Fines can vary, but the exotic critter that you bought on the internet (or on a trip to Mexico), will almost certainly be confiscated if wildlife officials discover your contraband animal.
There are thirty-seven animals on the MT Prohibited Exotic Species List. We don't have room to list them all, but here are some of the highlights.
As tempting as it may be to bring a baby alligator home from your Florida vacation, they are not allowed for import. The regs don't appear to say anything about crocodiles though... Is this a loophole? Probably not.
When I was a little kid, I really wanted a chimpanzee. Mainly because of this Gen X TV show about a trucker and his chimp sidekick.
Who wouldn't want a cuddly little baby Joey? They look so cute. Of course, baby 'roos grow up to be quite large, possibly violent, and - while rare - they could easily destroy a human if they were to attack.
Some monkeys are kind of cute. The one pictured above frightens the crap out of me. The broad-ranging category "Primate" is also on the no-no list for exotic pets in Montana, basically covering apes and all types of monkeys.
These furry little guys look like a small beaver, minus the huge, flat tail. They're also considered an invasive species by the USDA, who wrote,
Nutria are most abundant in the Gulf Coast States, but they also cause problems in other southeastern States, the Pacific Northwest, and along the Atlantic coast. In addition to damaging vegetation and crops, nutria destroy the banks of ditches, lakes, and other water bodies.
Please don't bring them to Montana.
While native to many states (they're Arizona's state mammal and are reportedly spotted in Wyoming), Ringtail cats are not permitted for import to the Treasure State.
Interestingly, other animals that already live in Montana are also not permitted for import, including grizzly bears, moose, skunks, and opossums. Read the full list HERE.
But you CAN have an elephant!! Well, with a permit. There are 23 animals that you might be able to import and possess in Montana with state approval. Others include tigers, bobcats, cougars, beavers, skunks, and more. Read the full list HERE.