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Illegal Exotic Pets
The uniqueness of exotic animals can be a big draw for some people. But remember, exotic pets have special needs and can be illegal to own. They are not like a cat or dog where you can run to the local grocery store for supplies. They require special food, special environments, special diets and special care.
Some animals are illegal in certain states or certain cities. Some are illegal everywhere. Certain animals require special permits or licenses. Laws can be confusing where they make the animal illegal according to one law yet legal with another. An illegal animal is subject to confiscation and when taken will likely be put to sleep. You, the owner, may face hefty fines and possibly jail time.
For specific information regarding the laws where you live, contact your state Department of Wildlife. Also contact your local animal control office or humane society. There may be local regulations which differ from state laws. Agricultural extensions are also good places to call, especially for animals which may be considered livestock - and it's astonishing what is included in that categorization.
Estimates vary, but some experts agree that at least one in three reptiles, including turtles and green iguanas, harbor salmonella and shigella bacteria. About 77 to 90 percent of reptiles carry salmonella bacteria. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that 90 percent of imported green iguanas carry "some strain of intestinal bacteria." If passed on to humans, this bacteria can be deadly!
Under no circumstances should any pet be kept where it is illegal to do so. If by chance you have one and didn't realize it was illegal, never release it into the wild.
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