9 Exotic Pets That Are Legal in Texas

Exotic Pets That Are Legal in Texas

It’s crucial to know the exotic pets that are legal in Texas. Many animal enthusiasts aspire to have an exotic pet.

Still, it’s essential to understand that exotic pet ownership involves significant dedication and responsibility.  

A few laws specify which exotic animals can be kept as pets in Texas to avoid this. 

Several distinct kinds of exotic animals are permitted for ownership in Texas.

However, it’s vital to note that, just like with adopting any pet, you’ll need to conduct an adequate study on the animal requirements you want to maintain.

In Texas, you should also check with the local counties and cities to be sure that owning your preferred breed of pet is permitted there and doesn’t require a special license or permit.  

Before taking an exotic pet home, you must take care of a few things.

The first step, as previously indicated, is to research the wants, requirements, and lifestyles of the pet you are interested in and make sure they are compatible with what you can supply.

Second, even though keeping a pet is lawful in Texas, some counties or towns may have different laws, ordinances, or prohibitions on exotic animal ownership.

Make sure you may keep the pet of your choice in your neighborhood by calling or visiting the local government office.

The last factor to consider is whether a qualified specialist or exotic veterinarian is nearby. 

You should ensure that a nearby provider can take care of your pet because exotic animals have specific demands and demand care from professional vets.

Check out the list of exotic pets that are legal in Texas below. 

1. Capybara

Photo by Hans on Pixabay
  • Scientific name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris. 
  • Natural habitat: Forests of South America, typically near bodies of water. 
  • Size: 3.48-4.40 feet in length. 20-24 inches in height. It can weigh between 77 to 146 pounds. 
  • Diet: They mainly eat grass and aquatic plants. 
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years in captivity. 

First on our list of exotic pets that are legal in Texas is Capybara. The world’s biggest and probably cutest rodent is the capybara.

You’ll need a pool since capybaras, native to South America, enjoy being in the water.

They are considered semi-aquatic organisms since they have webbed feet and can hold their breath underwater for five minutes.

It’s not necessary to have a fancy pool. The capybara would be perfectly content to take a cool plunge in an above-ground swimming pool. 

Capybaras naturally protect themselves with their razor-sharp teeth.

However, a capybara generally makes a very devoted and affectionate pet. However, they could be shy until they get to know you more. 

Capybaras in the wild consume a variety of grasses and aquatic plants as part of their diet.

Similar to certain other rodents, capybaras will occasionally drink their waste if the nutrients aren’t wholly digested the first time. 

Ensuring a capybara has enough company is the main worry while keeping one as a pet.

They are social animals and require a friend to hang out with in addition to their owner.

Therefore, if you want a happy pet, you must purchase two capybaras or at least a companion that is equivalent to one. 

2. Lemur

  • Natural habitat: Madagascar 
  • Size: can vary based on the species from 1.1 oz to 20 lbs. 
  • Diet: varies depending on the species, but they primarily consume plant matter. 
  • Lifespan: Larger species have a 30-year life span. 

Most states forbid keeping primates. You can, however, own any lemur in Texas.

The ring-tailed lemur, made famous by the movie Madagascar, is the most prevalent.

There are additional species, including the ruffed and brown lemurs. These species thrive in captivity.

They display little to no stereotyped behavior, making them among the most accessible mammals to maintain happiness in zoos (pacing and other repetitious sequences that are supposed to indicate boredom or stress). 

They are often friendly to primates, which is essential for a creature that could bite.

All primates, meanwhile, are thought to be needy and shouldn’t be kept as pets by anyone unable to plan their lives around their requirements.  

3. Kinkajou

by Fristle is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
  • Scientific name: Potos flavus. 
  • Natural habitat: Southeast Brazil to Mexico’s Sierra Madres. 
  • Diet: mainly eats fruit, especially figs. 
  • Size: Can be 16-24 inches in length. It can weigh between 3-10 pounds. 
  • Lifespan: 23 years in captivity. 

Next on our list of exotic pets that are legal in Texas is Kinkajou. Although they resemble monkeys, their closer kin is raccoons.

These creatures are particularly notable for their long tongues, which they use to reach for treats and fruits. The kinkajou is a nocturnal animal in the natural world.

This may contribute to this animal’s reputation for unpredictable aggression.

Consequently, they require a big area to play in, especially when they don’t feel nice. They are reputed to be amicable with their owners, though. 

Kinkajous are nocturnal creatures. Unpredictable violent behaviors can, regrettably, be present in these animals. As a result, they require a big area to burn off energy.

Otherwise, their owners report that they are exceedingly affectionate. They also smell sweeter than monkeys.

Texas and a few other states, like North Carolina and New York, have legalized kinkajous. 

4. Sloth

Photo by WikiImages on Pixabay
  • Natural habitat: South and Central American tropical rain forests. 
  • Size: can weigh between 7.9 and 17 pounds. 
  • Diet: typically consumes fruit, leaves, and insects. 
  • Lifespan: 20 years in the wild and 30 years in captivity are the maximum lifespans for two-toed sloths. 

Sloths have complex needs for their surroundings that will be quite costly to set up and maintain and demand a lot of specialist care. 

As opposed to other pets, a sloth won’t thrive inside. Instead, they require a habitat that resembles the warm, muggy jungles of Central and South America, where they originally lived. 

A sloth’s entire digestive system can stop working if it becomes too chilly and loses body heat.

They typically do best in temperatures between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit with 90% humidity! They will also require trees and branches to climb on.

Due to their nocturnal nature, sloths are likewise unlikely to be up and active when you are.

Sloths like consuming a variety of leaves in the wild. Zoos and wildlife rehabbers typically provide leaf eaters with food in the form of pellets or sticks.

Additionally, they like lettuce, several fruits, and vegetables, including apples and carrots, as well as dandelion greens. 

5. Asian Leopard Cat

Asian Leopard Cat
by Drew Avery is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Natural habitat: is widespread throughout East, Southeast, and South Asia. 
  • Diet: mostly consumes tiny prey, such as mice and small lizards. 
  • Lifespan: In captivity, they typically have a lifespan of up to 13 years. 
  • Size: These resemble domestic cats in terms of size. 

Asian Leopard Cat is also one of the legal exotic pets in Texas.

Southeast and Southern Asia are home to the wild species of cats known as Asian Leopard Cats.

Most people can identify them by their markings, which give them the appearance of miniature leopards.

These cats are little but strong; they can be difficult to own and cautious around people. Naturally, there are more amiable with their owners. 

6. Coatimundi

by Al_HikesAZ is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
  • Natural habitat: The range extends from the southwestern US to northern Uruguay. 
  • Size: 13-27 inches in length. Twelve inches tall at the shoulder. It can weigh between 4.4 and 17.6 pounds. 
  • Diet: Ground litter, invertebrates, and fruit. 
  • Lifespan: Up to 16 years in captivity. 

Another animal that is indigenous to Central and South America is the coatimundi.

Like sloths, coatimundi has a lot of requirements, but they are much more likely to desire to talk to their owners.

Although they are small, intelligent creatures, remember that they occasionally tend to be stubborn. They can survive up to fifteen years in captivity.

Coatimundis should not be kept near youngsters since they have sharp claws and teeth.

Coatis can become violent, especially as they age, and a vet may need to neuter or spay them to make them less hostile. 

However, since coatis are so uncommon, it could be challenging to locate a veterinarian who treats them. 

A specially designed food is also necessary for coatis. High-quality, grain-free dog food in captivity should make up 60% of their diet.

Finally, beef, Poultry, or eggs should make up the final 20% of their diet.

Because coatis are nocturnal foragers who feed throughout the day while searching for food, their food needs to be hidden and dispersed throughout their cage to support their innate tendencies. 

You will need to baby-proof or coat-proof any area they enter because they can be destructive.

It is also advised to keep them away from anything pricey or precious because they have such abrasive claws and fangs. 

7. Bushbaby

by Mark Dumont is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Natural habitat: Africa
  • Size: The brown greater galago is the largest species. It often measures over 12 inches in length and weighs between 2.6 and 3.3 pounds. 
  • Lifespan: can survive in captivity for 12 to 16 years. 

Next on our list of exotic pets that are legal in Texas is Bushbaby. Galagos, often known as bushbabies, are nocturnal primates.

They are more closely related to lemurs than to monkeys, albeit they are not lemurs.

As the name suggests, these animals are relatively small, but the much smaller, lesser galagos don’t seem to be offered on the American pet market.

It’s normal to see the larger galago for sale. They have the terrible tendency to smear their pee all over themselves, naturally giving off a musky odor.

They’ll need a large enclosure, just like monkeys. 

8. Spotted Genet

  • Scientific name: Genetta genetta. 
  • Natural habitat: Native to southern and northern Africa, north of the Sahara.
  • Size: 17-22 inches in length. It can weigh up to 4.4 pounds. 
  • Diet: A varied diet of insects, birds, fruit, and small mammals. 
  • Lifespan: Up to 13 years in captivity. 

Except for those in Texas interested in raising exotic animals, the Spotted Genet is one of the more uncommon species on this list.

It is known that genets belong to the suborder Feliformia, which also includes felines and mongooses.

Even so, that description doesn’t fully convey how peculiar they are. They resemble a ferret and a cat merged. 

Genets are not conventional pets because they are challenging to care for, are not very friendly, and need a lot of attention to become accustomed to living in captivity with people.

Genets can be pretty timid and afraid of loud noises or unexpected movements, primarily if they are not handled from a young age. 

They are highly independent animals and will not, under any circumstances, want to cuddle with their owner.

The spotted genets will likely climb up on you and perch on your arm at most. 

They can’t always be trained to use the litter box, but they usually have a favorite spot to relieve themselves, so owners frequently place litter boxes there.

Genets’ dietary requirements, which include a high quantity of taurine and few carbs, are similar to cats’.

While some owners may feed their Genet’s cats food, getting a premium product from a recognized manufacturer that uses only human-grade ingredients is always preferable. 

9. Tiger

Photo by Pexels on Pixabay
  • Natural Habitat: China, India, Malaysia, Sumatra, Russia 
  • Size: Tiger sizes can vary from species to species, although some can reach lengths of 12 feet (3.9 meters) and weigh about 330 pounds. 
  • Tigers eat Meat. However, they should not be fed with live animals to remove the predatory instinct. 
  • Lifespan: In captivity, tigers can live for up to 20 years. 

Last on our list of exotic pets that are legal in Texas is Tiger.

The largest of the Big Cats are likely tigers. They are surprisingly easy to tame, though.

Tigers have a long history of coexisting with humans; they participated in ancient theater events like the colosseum contests.

Tigers still thrill audiences in circus performances nowadays all over the world. In Texas, a good deal of tigers is housed in private backyards.

However, there are a few requirements set forth by law, one of which is that you must demonstrate that you have enough money to take care of your Tiger, including shelter and food.  

In conclusion, owning an exotic pet is undoubtedly a thrilling experience.

However, it would be best if you took all the essential measures and safety precautions to guarantee that you abide by all legal requirements and that you can give that animal the finest care possible.

All animals, regardless of species, should have their basic needs covered and a caring home. 

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