Rarest Pets

Playful pups and cuddly cats might be all the rage, but there are plenty of exotic pets that make equally charismatic companions. The trick is knowing which exotic animals are OK to own, which ones require special permits, and which ones are strictly forbidden. 

Unique pets have unique needs, so before choosing an exotic pet, make sure you can properly accommodate the animal and that you have access to veterinary care for exotic pets.

Whether a feathered friend is in your future, or you’re drawn to reptiles or creepy crawlies, Animal Care Unlimited is here to support your journey with your exotic pet.  

Exotic Pets You Can Own Without a License

If you’re considering an exotic pet, the path of least resistance is to choose an exotic animal that does not require a special permit or registration. 

The following exotic animals (among others) are allowed as pets in Ohio:

  • Birds: From tiny finches with pleasant peeps to African gray parrots that can practically carry on conversations, birds make intelligent, attentive companions for people with plenty of time and attention to spare.
  • Ferrets are generally friendly and inquisitive. Plus, they can be litter box trained! They do require plenty of exercise and stimulation, however, so take that into account before adding one to your family.
  • Rabbits may not sound exotic (since there are so many hopping around in backyards all over Ohio), but certain species that are bred to be pets make calm, cuddly companions. 
  • Reptiles like leopard or crested geckos make great pets for beginners.
  • Guinea pigs: Social and curious, guinea pigs are happiest when housed with other guinea pigs, so plan to bring home at least two! 
  • Hedgehogs: These prickly little pets are mostly hypoallergenic, odorless, and solitary.
  • Tarantulas: Those wanting a low-maintenance exotic pet that takes up very little space might want to consider one of these eight-legged friends. 
  • Chinchillas: These adorable rodents are a tad on the destructive side, so proper housing and patience are key.

Animals That Are Illegal in Ohio

This list of illegal pets is not exhaustive. Contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture for more details.

The following animals (plus others) are illegal to keep as pets in Ohio

  • Most big cats, including lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cheetahs, cougars, lynxes, and servals
  • Alligators, crocodiles, and caimans (excluding dwarf caimans)
  • Gray wolves
  • Komodo dragons 
  • Hyenas
  • African wild dogs
  • Bears
  • Numerous nonhuman primates

Exotic Animals That Require a Permit in Ohio

Besides banning the possession of certain animals, Ohio requires permits for some species. Always check with local authorities for details in your county or city.

Many types of “restricted snakes,” including anacondas, reticulated pythons, Burmese pythons, twig snakes, and others require that the person obtain a Restricted Snake Possession Permit from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Exotic pets can be fun and fascinating, but it can be challenging to care for them without proper information and guidance. Please contact us to discuss your exotic pet’s veterinary needs.