In addition to federal laws, each state, including Alabama, has its own specific laws governing the ownership, caretaking, importing, and sale of exotic animals. Typically, an exotic pet refers to any animal kept domestically that is from a tropical locale or isn’t commonly found as a pet, although they can also be referred to as nonstandard or nontraditional pets.
Alabama uses a specific definition of what classifies an exotic pet. Exotic pets in Alabama are specific animals that may harm the natural ecosystem, known disease-carrying animals or protected wildlife. The state specifies many species of fish including any piranha or fish from the genes Serrasalmus, any walking catfish or other fish from the genus Clarias and any black carp of the genus Mylopharyngodon as exotic. Other animals classified as exotic animals in Alabama include any species of mongoose, San Juan rabbits, jack rabbits or any other species of wild rabbit or hare and any of the following animals from outside state lines: any member of the Cervidae that includes deer, moose, elk and caribou, any species of coyote, fox, raccoon, skunk or other wild rodent and any strain of wild turkey. Protected wildlife classified as exotic include all species of sturgeon, siniperca spp., Channa maculuta and Chirrhinus molitonella.
The state of Alabama doesn’t require exotic pet owners to have a permit or license to possess the animal, but regulates exotic animals in other ways. The law states that no person, firm, corporation, partnership or association may import, sell or possess specific exotic animals as specified in the state’s definition of what constitutes an exotic pet. Wild and protected birds may not be kept in captivity as exotic pets unless specifically authorized by the Director of the Game and Fish Division. Fish including Siniperca spp., Channa maculuta or Chirrhinus molitonella are prohibited from being bought, sold, imported, possessed or released in the state of Alabama.
Alabama state law protects certain species of animals classified as exotic from being released into the wild. Laws strictly prohibit Nutria from being propagated or released in the state. Additionally, Nutria may not be kept in captivity for the purposes of release to stock the species in the wild. Tame or wild turkeys may not be released in the state of Alabama. These regulations do not apply to turkeys being raised for agricultural purposes, personal consumption or kept in zoos.