City Cast

Exotic Pets Allowed in Pennsylvania

Brittany Valentine
Brittany Valentine
Posted on August 22
a small alligator on a leash

Meet Wally, Philly’s favorite alligator. (@usatoday/Instagram)

Philly is a filled with cat and dog parents, but some residents find companionship with exotic wildlife. Just last August, Philly resident Joie Henney was spotted walking “Wally,” his emotional support alligator, on a leash in LOVE Park.

Due to public safety and environmental concerns, it’s illegal to own most exotic pets, like monkeys, wolves, and certain endangered reptiles, in Pennsylvania.

But with the proper permits, you can own a pet tiger, an alligator, or even a leopard. In order to own an exotic pet, you must obtain two years of hands-on experience with care, feeding, handling, training, and husbandry. The permit is $50 annually.

Allowed Exotic Pets:

  • Hedgehogs (when purchased within the state)
  • Non-native venomous reptiles (boas, pythons, anacondas)
  • Ferrets

Allowed, but You Need a Permit:

  • Bears
  • Wolves
  • Coyotes
  • Large felines (tigers, jaguars, cougars, etc.)

Keep in mind: owning an exotic pet requires a lot of research, time, and money. If you’re looking to bring home a unique pet, visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission to learn more.

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