Georgia expands rules that ban some wild animals as pets

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has expanded limits on which animals can be bought, sold or kept as pets in the state.

Beginning Dec. 4, owners of species that were recently added to the list of wild animals have one year to meet new requirements in order to keep their pets.

Pet owners will need to register and tag six reptile species that were added to the list.

Business owners will need to sell animals acquired before the changes took effect, and people ineligible for a permit or license will need to find their animals an appropriate home.

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New additions to the list of wild animals that are prohibited effective Dec. 4 include all species of mongooses; birds such as Purple swamphens, monk parakeets or Quaker parrots, except those individuals with monk parakeets or Quaker parrots under a wild animal license that is current on the effective date of this rule; fish such as snakeheads, African tigerfish, bighead and silver carps, black carp, lates perches, sheatfishes and wels catfish; and invertebrates such as dreissenid mussels, giant African land snails, and marbled crayfish.


The original law did not require liability insurance for all non-domestic cat species. The new rule requires liability insurance for all nondomestic species in the cat family.

Owners of Indian rock pythons, Burmese pythons, Argentine black-and-white tegus, Nile monitors, African helmeted turtles and softshell turtles may continue to keep those animals as a pet without a license, provided that the owner tags and registers them with the Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division within 12 months of Dec. 4, 2022.

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A number of invertebrates including snails, crayfish, shrimp and mussels have been added to the list as well. You can view the full document here.

This is the first time the list of wild animals has been updated by the Georgia DNR since 1994.