Mar 23, 2023 - News

Georgia's exotic animal laws say no-no to rhinos as pets

Illustration of a rhinoceros wearing a collar and leash

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Think twice before buying that lemur, crocodile or piranha as your next pet. Ditto for hippos. They just might be on the list of Georgia's verboten pets.

Driving the news: Last week, Atlanta rapper Rick Ross' pet buffaloes escaped his Fayette County farm and wandered around his neighborhood.

  • The incident — no one was harmed — became an early contender for 2023's most "WTF, ATL?" stories.
  • But it also got us wondering: What members of the animal kingdom are off-limits in Georgia when it comes to forever friends?

Details: The Georgia Department of Natural Resources keeps an extensive list of leave-them-alone animals.

  • Nearly every kind of native animal you find in the wild is a no-go. That applies to black bears, bobcats, sea turtles and the one-toed Amphiuma, that ole rascal.
  • For non-native or exotic species, politely decline offers to bring home freshwater stingrays, warthogs and manatees.

There are many, many more.

Flashback: State wildlife officials expanded Georgia's list in November for the first time since the mid-1990s and added requirements for owners of non-domestic cats to carry liability insurance.

Of note: People are allowed to own some of these animals — but not as pets — with a license or permit or if they're tagged and registered with the state.


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