PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — You may have dreamed of having a pet bear as a kid — but can you actually own one here in Oregon?
Turns out, it’s a little complicated about what exotic pet species you can own and whether you can get the OK from state and federal regulators.
According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, exotic animals are defined in Oregon under the following categories:
- Non-human primates
- Bears, except for the American Black Bear
- “Non-indigenous canines” that are not domestic or hybrids
- “Non-indigenous felines” that are not domestic or hybrids
Exotic animals are prohibited in Oregon unless the owner has a license through the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the owner has a valid Oregon exotic animal permit they received before 2010.
However, as Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Invasive Species Wildlife Integrity Supervisor Rick Boatner explains, there are classifications under Oregon statutes that have animals exempt from rules, prohibited species, controlled species and noncontrolled species.
Non-controlled species include giraffes, hippopotamuses, red pandas, flying lemurs, kangaroos and wallabies, two- and three-toed sloths, elephants and certain kingsnakes, such as king cobras, with exceptions.
However, while they’re technically allowed in Oregon, federal regulators “won’t let you bring it in,” Boatner says. There are also other considerations, such as permitting spaces for these species.
There are also county rules to consider.
“Multnomah County has a blanket ‘no venomous snake’ rule,” he said, making it the only Oregon county to prohibit them. Multnomah County also prohibits snakes that are eight or more feet long, so Portlanders can’t have a boa, Boatner added.
When it comes to canines, there are other considerations, Boatner said. Owning a coyote or wolf is strictly prohibited, as is owning a coyote-dog hybrid. However, Boatner said a wolf-domestic dog hybrid is allowed but can be tricky.
However, certain animal species are generally prohibited in the state because of the risk they can pose to native species in the state. These animals include but are not limited to wildebeests, Central Asian gazelles, wild boars, mongooses, certain rodents, old world porcupines, nutria, and a number of amphibians, turtles, reptiles and snakes.
For animal lovers, it might be best to stick with animals exempt from all of these rules, which include but is not limited to domestic dogs and cats, chinchillas, European rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, common rats and mice, swine, chicken, bison, camels and emus.
There are also native species to Oregon you can consider raising as a pet, such as ground squirrels, the American porcupine or Northwest salamander, but Boatner warns it can get tricky if you have more than one of those species.