Whether you like to go to the zoo or you’ve watched the entire Tiger King series, you may have considered owning an exotic pet. Of course, the next question is whether that exotic animal you want to own is legal in the State of Nevada.

Even though Nevada allows more animals than some other states, there are still many species that are illegal to own in Nevada.

Before committing to a new exotic pet, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys break down what you need to know about illegal pets in Nevada.

Exotic Pets in Nevada

While owning a unique animal can seem like a tempting idea for some people, there are many things to consider before spending your money on an exotic pet. Mainly, is it even legal to own that species as a pet in your state? In many cases, the answer would be no. However, Nevada’s pet ownership laws are a little more relaxed when compared to other states.

Here are some of the pets that are legal to own in Nevada:

  • Tigers
  • Ferrets
  • Gerbils
  • Monkeys
  • Lions
  • Hedgehogs
  • Parrotts
  • Elephants
  • Camels
  • Alpaca
  • Ostrich
  • Toucans
  • Bison
  • Zebra
  • Domesticated Ducks and Geese

Remember, even though the State of Nevada may say that these animals are legal to own, local laws may be more strict. The City of Las Vegas, Henderson and Clark County may have more restrictive animal ownership laws than the State of Nevada.

In addition, even if the law allows private ownership of these animals, they are not to be released into the wild unless authorized by state officials. (NAC 503.140)

Animal cruelty laws apply in the State of Nevada. Whether an animal is exotic or a common household pet, animal cruelty can be enforced in the state. Torture, overdriving exploitation and neglect are all subject to criminal penalties for offenders.

The Nevada animal cruelty laws are found in Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 574.

Have you been bitten or attacked by an illegal pet in Nevada?
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What Are the Animal and Pet Ownership Laws in Nevada?

The animal and pet ownership laws in Nevada come from Nevada Administrative Code Chapter 503. NAC 503.110 lists the animals that are illegal, while NAC 503.140 lists the animals that may be lawfully possessed without a license. However, there may be more restrictive local laws that apply to animal and pet ownership in Nevada.

The complete lists of animals that are illegal to own in Nevada include:

Illegal Fish

  • Lampreys
  • Freshwater stingray
  • Freshwater shark
  • Bowfin
  • Gars
  • Herring and shad, except threadfin and gizzard
  • European whitefish
  • Mexican banded tetra
  • Piranhas
  • South American Parasitic Catfish
  • White perch
  • Freshwater drum
  • Grass carp, except certified triploids with a permit
  • Pike topminnow
  • Snakehead
  • Walking catfish
  • Tigerfish
  • Sticklebacks
  • Tilapia
  • Nile perch
  • Goldeye
  • Carp (various species)
  • Rudd
  • Northern Pike
  • Asian swamp eel

Illegal Reptiles

  • Alligators
  • Crocodiles
  • Gharial
  • Bird snake
  • Boomslang
  • Keelbacks
  • Burrowing Asps
  • Coral snakes, cobras, kraits, mambas, Australia elapids
  • Pit vipers and true vipers, except indigenous species
  • Snapping turtles

Illegal Amphibians

  • Clawed frogs
  • Giant or marine toads

Illegal Mammals

  • Wild dogs or Dhole
  • Raccoon dog
  • Mongooses
  • Meerkats
  • Wild European Rabbit
  • Multimammate Rat or Mouse
  • Bats
  • Nutria
  • Coyote
  • Foxes
  • Raccoon
  • Skunk
  • Wild pigs and hogs
  • Axis deer
  • Red deer elk and wapiti
  • Rusa, Sambar, Sika, Roe and White-tailed deer
  • Moose
  • Reedbucks
  • Oryx and Gemsbok
  • Addax
  • Blesbok, Topi and Bontebok
  • Hartebeests
  • Wildebeest and Gnus
  • Chamois
  • Tahr
  • Ibex, Wild Goats, Tur and Markhor
  • Barbary Sheep
  • Mouflon sheep, Urial, Bighorn and Argali

Illegal Birds

  • Pink Starling or Rosy Pastor
  • Red-billed Dioch
  • Red-whiskered Bulbul

Illegal Crustaceans

  • Asiatic mitten crab
  • Crayfish

Illegal Mollusks

  • African giant snail
  • Zebra and quagga mussels
  • New Zealand mud snail
Have you been bitten or attacked by an illegal pet in Nevada?
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Nevada Pet Ownership FAQs

Is it legal to own a raccoon in Nevada?

You can own a raccoon in Nevada

No, it is not legal to own a raccoon in Nevada. Nevada Administrative Code 503.110 places raccoons on the list of animals that people cannot own or transport in the State of Nevada. Possessing a raccoon as a pet may be punished as a misdemeanor in Nevada.

Are pet monkeys legal in Nevada?

You can own monkeys in Nevada

Yes, pet monkeys are legal in Nevada. In fact, Nevada Administrative Code 503.140 allows Nevada residents to own pet monkeys without a permit. Always be sure to check for city or county laws that may be more restrictive or require a permit.

Can I own a sloth in Nevada?

You can own a sloth in Nevada

Yes, you can own a sloth in Nevada. Sloths are not on the list of banned animals in Nevada. Be sure to know what animal and species you have, because some types of fox are not legal in the state.

Can you own a giraffe in Nevada?

There is no law that bans giraffes statewide in Nevada.

Yes, you may be able to own a giraffe in Nevada. There is no law that bans giraffes statewide in Nevada. However, giraffes are also not on the statewide list of animals that may be owned without a permit. Municipalities may require a permit before someone can lawfully own a giraffe, or they may prohibit ownership.

Can you own a kangaroo in Nevada?

There is no law that bans kangaroos statewide in Nevada.

Yes, you can own a kangaroo in Nevada. Nevada Administrative Code 503.110 lists the animals that are illegal to own in Nevada, and kangaroos are not on the list. As long as they are not banned locally and you comply with any permitting process, you can own a kangaroo in Nevada.

Is it legal to own a skunk in Nevada?

There is a law that bans skunks as pets statewide in Nevada.

No, it is not legal to own a skunk in Nevada. Skunks are illegal to possess or transport under Nevada Administrative Code 503.110. A person who possesses a skunk in Nevada may be subject to misdemeanor penalties.

Can I own a tiger in Nevada?

Yes, you can own a tiger in Nevada.

Yes, you can own a tiger in Nevada. Tigers are not prohibited by the State of Nevada law. However, be sure to check with county and city laws that may regulate tigers, including prohibition or permitting requirements. Also, remember that owning a pet does not authorize the owner to release the animal into society. The pet must be kept secure at all times.

Are piranhas legal in Nevada?

No, piranhas are not legal to own in Nevada.

No, piranhas are not legal in Nevada. Nevada Administrative Code 503.110 prohibits private ownership of piranhas. Because they are banned on a statewide level, it is not legal to own piranhas in the state. Violators may be subject to penalties for owning a prohibited animal.