Anonymous asked in PetsOther - Pets · 2 months ago

Why is it illegal to own meerkats as pets in the US?

I have looked into what it takes to own a meerkat as a pet and I get that it's hard. I have seen YouTube videos of people owning them as pets and them seeming pretty happy. I know they definitely need to have more than one so they can socialize. But really something I don't get is people owning actual dangerous animals as pets in the US while meerkats are illegal. And also another thing is they do have a longer life expectancy when living in captivity. I have actually done research on them before finding out they were illegal to own so really myself I do think I would do a good job at raising meerkats but since it is illegal I can't really do it. I am aware it's legal in the UK so it is like they kinda prove meerkats can be pets.


I live in Indiana where you can own quite a bit of exotic pets legally. You can own skunks where I live and fennec foxes and pretty much any fox breed but a fennec fox does come from Africa so that also makes me wonder why meerkats could really be illegal. I did check many sources and they do tell me in the US they are illegal and highly restricted. I have also personal meet people with pet tarantula and red belly piranhas. 

Update 2:

I get that a lot of people will definitely say meerkats aren't good pets but honestly from what I have seen they can be if you know what to do. They do take a lot more care than most normally domestic pets.

3 Answers

  • 2 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Some states simply ban them,(all states) likely for the lack of captive breeders, It is illegal to take them from the wild everywhere. (ASPCA lobby)

    With some, I just don't understand why prohibited, rodent are open season, that should apply to porcupine, they are rodents.

    Back to early 60s you could keep near anything, a pet skunk in California, the only requirement was shots. Health department stopped that one. They can't make the same claim for possum, another sweet pet, but banned also.

    A western horned owl, not really a pet but tame enough it liked human attention,feeding, but free to come and go. Bird of prey laws stop that without a falconry license.

    California now bans near anything not domestic, and a number limit on such like rodents. Funny, the 5 bergs of New York ban anything venomous, that black widow webbed in the corner is just fine, put it in captivity, it is illegal.

    I think it is all about money, enough, you can get permits/licenses to keep anything but cost a lot. Some should never be kept for lack of knowledge, Bats in that group.

    Honestly, I see no viable answer for your question, maybe check with your county and see if there are any ways to get around your laws, I am a former animal rescue person, county licensed rehabber but not a catch all keeping wildlife pets.

    What I get is meercats simply don't make for "good" pets.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Illegal in my state

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  • Rick
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    meerkats are WILD animals, and can't keep 'wild' animals as pets in most of the U.S.

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