Full List of Illegal Exotic Pets in Arkansas

Arkansas, like many states in the United States, has laws regulating the ownership and sale of exotic pets. These laws aim to protect both the animals and the public from potential harm, as many exotic species can be dangerous or pose a risk to local ecosystems if they escape or are released.

Despite these regulations, there is still a thriving illegal trade in exotic pets in Arkansas. Many of these animals are sold online or through private dealers, and their origins are often murky or unknown. Some may be captured from the wild, which can lead to a decline in wild populations, while others may be bred in captivity under poor condition.

What Kinds of Exotic Pets are not allowed in Arkansas?

The state of Arkansas has a comprehensive list of animals that are illegal to keep as pets due to several reasons, including public safety, animal welfare, and ecological concerns. Here is an explanation of why each of these animals is prohibited as pets in Arkansas:

Mountain lions, Tigers, African lions, and Bears

These animals are classified as large predatory mammals and pose a significant risk to public safety if kept as pets. These animals require a specialized diet, proper living conditions, and extensive training to control their aggressive behaviors. Without proper care and training, they can easily escape, become a danger to the public, and cause severe injury or death.

Apes, Baboons, and Macaques

These primates are intelligent animals that require a significant amount of socialization, training, and space to live comfortably. In Arkansas, it is illegal to keep these animals as pets because they are known to transmit diseases, including Herpes B virus, which can be fatal to humans.

Non-native birds and Bats

Non-native birds and bats pose a threat to the ecosystem if released into the wild. They can displace native species, introduce diseases, and alter the balance of the ecosystem. In addition, keeping these animals as pets can expose humans to a wide range of diseases, including histoplasmosis, a respiratory disease caused by inhaling fungal spores found in bird and bat droppings.

Alligator snapping turtles, Ornate box turtles, Ozark hellbenders, and Ouachita streambed salamanders

These animals are protected under state and federal laws due to their declining populations and risk of extinction. They play an essential role in the ecosystem and require specialized care that most pet owners cannot provide.

Collared lizards

Collared lizards are native to Arkansas and are protected under state laws. They are known to live in specific habitats and require a specialized diet and living conditions that are difficult to provide in captivity.

Troglodytic species (cave dwellers)

These animals are adapted to specific environments and require specialized care that most pet owners cannot provide. They are also protected under state and federal laws to prevent their removal from natural habitats, which can harm their populations.

Endangered species

Several species of animals are classified as endangered and are protected under state and federal laws. Keeping these animals as pets is illegal because their removal from the wild can harm their populations and hinder conservation efforts.


In conclusion, the illegal status of these animals in Arkansas is designed to protect public safety, animal welfare, and the ecosystem. Anyone caught possessing or selling these animals can face legal consequences. It is essential to respect these laws and support conservation efforts to ensure the survival of these animals and the ecosystem they inhabit.

It Might Interest You To Read: Full List of Legal Exotic Pets In Arkansas You Can Own

License and State Laws

  • Permit required for large carnivores (such as bears) owned before 8/12/2005 — must have received a permit within 180 days of 8/12/2005.
  • Owners of apes, baboons, and macaques in 2013 who registered and meet certain requirements may keep them.
  • Some venomous reptiles must have permits starting 07/01/2021.


Where can I buy a pet sloth?

It is not recommended to buy a pet sloth as they are wild animals and require specialized care. In addition, it may be illegal to own a sloth as a pet in some states and countries. Instead of buying a sloth, you can consider visiting a sanctuary or a zoo that has sloths and learn more about these unique creatures.

What’s the most dangerous animal in Arkansas, and how does one protect oneself from it?

The most dangerous animal in Arkansas is the diamondback rattlesnake. To protect yourself from a diamondback rattlesnake, you should be aware of your surroundings and watch where you step or place your hands. If you encounter a rattlesnake, you should slowly back away and avoid startling or provoking it. If you are bitten by a diamondback rattlesnake, seek medical attention immediately.

Is it legal to have a pet sloth in Arkansas?

Sloths are not listed as an animal that requires a permit in Arkansas, but it is important to check with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for the latest information on regulations concerning exotic pets. However, as mentioned earlier, it is not recommended to keep a sloth as a pet as they are wild animals and require specialized care.

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