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Exotic animals are animals that are not native to or do not migrate through the area in which they are kept. This does not necessarily mean that the animal is not from the country or that it is an import animal, but rather the species does not originate from that specific location. Alligators and crocodiles are common in Florida but they are considered exotic pets in Kansas. Kansas has exotic animal pet laws in place to protect these exotic pets, the local ecosystem and the society in which the pet exists.
Kansas Administrative Regulation 115-20-3
The Kansas administration regulation 115-20-3 states that anyone can own an exotic pet provided the pet has been acquired in a legal manner. This means that the pet had to be sold to the owner, rather than the owner removing the exotic pet from his natural environment. This also means that animals acquired through exotic animal black market movements is considered illegal. The exotic pet owner may be required to prove the legal acquisition of the exotic pet.
Kansas Administrative Regulation 115-20-4
Kansas administration regulation 115-20-4 states that a Kansas citizen must apply for an exotic pet permit when acquiring a mountain lion, bear or wolf. This permit includes the owner's name, number, address and proof of legal acquisition of the pet. In addition the permit will include the number of animals owned and the reason for owning the animals. If there is a change in ownership status due to acquisition of additional pets, selling of an exotic pet or the death of a pet, the state must be notified within five days of occurrence.
All imported exotic pets must be quarantined for a minimum of 30 days. During this time period the animal must be tested for commutable diseases and must have a health certificate before entering the general population of animals or being released to the owner. This is done to prevent the spread of diseases that the exotic animal may have an immunity to but that may cause havoc in the native population.
All exotic pets should be handled in a manner that maintains the captivity of the exotic pet. The introduction of a predatory animal to a new ecosystem may cause serious damage to the native ecosystem. A release of more than one exotic pet can cause the beginning of an invasive species epidemic and destroy delicate ecosystem of any location. At no point should the exotic pet be released into the wild.
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.