Seven Animals You Can’t Keep as Pets in California

CALIFORNIA (KTXL) — There are certain animals that California only allows as pets if proper permits are obtained, but there’s also a long list of animals that Californians can’t keep as pets.

One of the main reasons for this is that the animals, if released, can disrupt the natural order of wildlife in the state.

Here are seven animals that people in California can’t keep as pets.


A movement, which failed, was recently formed to legalize keeping ferrets as pets in California.

Despite being domesticated about 2,500 years ago, they are not allowed as pets in California. Ferrets, which belong to the weasel family, can get into holes where rodents and rabbits like to reside.

If they are released into the wild, they could become a problem for other native California animals.


Gerbils are social and will get depressed if they are alone, which is why they tend to be in pairs.

The most common gerbil to keep as a pet is a Mongolian gerbil, also called a desert rat, which thrives in desert and semi-arid environments. For that reason, it is not allowed in California.

The California climate is a suitable environment for gerbils and it could spread and become a problem for other wildlife if it finds its way into the wild.


Even though they both have quills, hedgehogs and porcupines are not closely related.

Hedgehogs, like the other animals on the list, could become a problem and form colonies if they make it out into the wild. The San Diego Zoo, as well as other zoos, have hedgehogs that you can visit.

They are usually active at night and their backs are full of spikes that help protect their softer parts, “like their soft belly.”


There are several types of squirrels in California, but they can be divided into three types. Those types are ground squirrels, tree squirrels, and flying squirrels.

While they can be cute while scampering on the ground or in a tree, California wildlife are not allowed to be kept as pets.

The eastern fox squirrel, not pictured above, is considered a “serious pest” and can be killed without a hunting permit or license.


Monkeys, like the other animals on the list, have the potential to wreak havoc on California wildlife and habitats.


Raccoons are known to attack birds and chickens.

Like squirrels, raccoons are no strangers to the state and will eat just about anything. It’s a trait that can make them a nuisance to some residents and neighborhoods.

They are also part of the natural California wildlife and are not allowed as pets.


Two chipmunks taking shelter under a board in a pile of wood.

Only certain types of rodents are allowed as pets in California, such as domesticated breeds of hamsters, rats, and mice. Chipmunks are not one of those listed as allowed pets.

For more information, visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.