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Texas and furbearers

Exotic legal issues, bans, laws, regulations, Animal Rights discussions etc.

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TexasYankee
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Texas and furbearers

Postby TexasYankee » Sun May 24, 2015 9:47 pm

So I know that people who keep foxes and skunks have been having trouble in Texas, because the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department interprets the furbearer licensure requirements as prohibiting keeping furbearers without a license, and prohibiting obtaining a license for pets.

Since I'd hoped to get a Virginia opossum and a ringtail or raccoon, it prohibits my chosen pets as well, even though mypetracoons.com still claims that racoons are legal in Texas.

Obviously in a state where you can keep macaques without any sort of license (and bears, chimps, and tigers with one) the legislature didn't specifically mean to prohibit these animals as pets. Equally obviously, anti-exotic sentiment means that it's unlikely the legislature will fix the issue. (I understand that the fox people aren't even trying to legalize reds and grays. They're trying to legalize fennecs only, and even that's going nowhere.)

What I'm wondering is: does anybody know how the ban came about? Was the ban the result of bad wording in a new law, or TPWD re-interpreting an old one? Also, when did the change happen?
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun May 24, 2015 11:44 pm

It's been in place a long time. The only change was to interpret it to include non-native species. And they very much did mean to ban them(natives anyway). Fur bearer laws are in place because fur bearers are also the main vectors for rabies. There is extreme paranoia around rabies. The ban was very much meant for these animals as pets. It doesn't matter if you're animal was captive bred for generations and vaccinated. The vaccines aren't proven and a rabid bat could fly into the fox pen and bite it and give it rabies, sure probably wont happen but could and that's enough of a risk for them to justify it.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby TexasYankee » Mon May 25, 2015 12:38 am

If it's been in place a long time, I wonder why pretty much every summary of state laws except yours neglects to mention that furbearers are illegal. I'd figured that and the fairly recent rash of complaints about foxes and skunks meant that the change was around the same time as the armadillo ban.

Is the rabid bat scenario actually their concern? Do they not know that any mammal can carry rabies? Considering it's Texas (the state which, because of leprosy, makes it illegal to buy a captive-bred armadillo but not to take and raise a baby from the wild, and not to sell the meat of wild-killed animals), I suppose I would be unsurprised if legislators actually believe that the rabies virus discriminates based on where a species originates.

It's both frustrating and amusing. More frustrating, considering that the Virginia opossum is the animal I'd most like to have as a pet, and it's very difficult for opossums to actually become infected with rabies, let alone transmit it. Even more frustrating considering that macaques don't even need a license, and most macaques carry Herpes B.

My home state's laws are a whole lot stricter, but I suppose that at least they're not based on refine, stupidity. Well, except that Massachusetts decided that bison should be legal without a license, which seems to complete defeat the point of the "we're banning everything until you prove it literally couldn't hurt a child" strategy.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon May 25, 2015 12:56 am

Pretty much the reason or something like it. People used to believe foxes etc "Carried" rabies, meaning they have it and give it to their offspring and run around spreading it to others and all along seeming fine for years/generations. Most people accept that's not true now, I think, but incubation period is one thing needed to get any rabies fear type law lifted. That and then lab tests to prove a shot affective. It literally costs millions of dollars.

Most places that like to list exotic pet laws do over look fur bearer laws but most states have some version of their own or include their banning or other limits to owning them under their rabies health code.

When possums get included in the rabies fear-bans is the most maddening. The others are known to be the wildlife most likely to catch it but it's virtually a non-issue with possums.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby TexasYankee » Thu May 28, 2015 1:38 am

I just realized that since foxes are only covered because of the reference to "all species of foxes" other Didelphis spp. are likely not covered by the reference to "opossum," Procyon cancrivorus is not covered by "raccoon." and Bassariscus sumichrasti isn't even mentioned by its common name.

If this is the case, and other states's furbearer rules only apply to native mammals, I wonder why the cacomistle, crab-eating raccoon, and other Didelphis opossums are not more popular. I can't seem to find any of them for sale, or even old expired listings for these species.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby Ash » Fri May 29, 2015 3:34 pm

Those are difficult animals to acquire. Trust me, tons of people want cacomistles, lol, but I do not know of any breeders. Every once in a while you'll see one pop up for sale somewhere. They're such neat animals, and I was able to work with one/around one when I interned.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby TexasYankee » Fri May 29, 2015 6:08 pm

If there's such a demand for cacomistles, I wonder why more people don't breed them. There's clearly an opportunity to be taken there, if anyone has a lot of land and a bit of seed money.

Maybe people don't want them at the price breeders can afford to sell them at? I'd rather have a cacomistle (well, I'd even more rather have a ringtail) than a kinkajou, but if a cacomistle costs half again what a kinkajou does or more, and raccoons aren't an option (as they probably aren't in Texas, at least not P. lotor), then I'd probably go for the kinkajou.

Any rate, I contacted the TPWD pretty much immediately after posting that. Hopefully before I move to Texas, I'll know whether my suspicions about Texas law are correct. Unfortunately, that may mean nothing if I can't find the species in question.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri May 29, 2015 6:55 pm

They are banned in the statutes as common names http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/d ... /PW.71.htm

In the regulations they failed to define them but I suppose they didn't need to since it's defined in the statues.
http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/re ... sch=Q&rl=Y

And just in case anyone needs to understand the difference http://www.apnm.org/publications/animal ... rstand.php

Edit: I think I may have replied to the wrong thread.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby TexasYankee » Fri May 29, 2015 7:06 pm

Wow.
I always thought that people from the Northeast who mock Texans for ignorance were being unfair, seeing as it has some of the best public universities in the country and one of the largest high-tech sectors outside Silicon Valley.

But writing wildlife regulations using common names? That's just... wow. Texas legislators are clearly fair game.

Any rate, thanks for the links.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Code wrote:"Fur-bearing animal" means wild beaver, otter, mink, ring-tailed cat, badger, skunk, raccoon, muskrat, opossum, fox, or nutria.

Since only foxes and minks have domesticated forms, putting "wild" before the list would seem to imply that captive-bred specimens are exempt. I wonder why the TPWD does not interpret it that way.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby Ash » Fri May 29, 2015 8:14 pm

Cacomistles and ringtails are just hard to acquire. There are such few breeders right now, where do you even start? You'd have to get wild-caught ones, and that's going to be very difficult to get permission from the state. Those types of exemptions/variances cost a lot of money and takes a lot of time to get approved. And may not even be approved at all by DNRs. That's the problem there. You can't acquire them without a lot of work and patience--and your pairs may not even be compatible or could die in captivity or even kill each other. Wild caught is not easy for even an average exotic animal owner. It's kind of like a whole different ball game when you're going with wild caught. It takes a different level of skill.

LOL, the reason why I know this is because I looked into getting them. I have seen them for sale every now and again, but haven't ever found a breeder. So I was looking into what I would have to do if I were to trap some in my state legally--but I just can't imagine Utah even allowing it due to the politics involved.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby TexasYankee » Fri May 29, 2015 8:31 pm

I found one breeder in Kansas which breeds ringtails.

However since all fennec foxes in the US are captive-bred, and TamanduaGirl posted an email on the Texas laws page from someone at TPWD claiming that fennecs are prohibited, TPWD was clearly interpreting the law to ban captive-bred specimens. How and why I'm not sure; the reference to "wild" seems fairly clear to me.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri May 29, 2015 9:26 pm

Interesting. Not sure if legit. Looks like it maybe but I find it odd a breeder has no personal info on their experience or captive care for the species instead of just regurgitating a basic wiki on the wild animal.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby Ash » Sat May 30, 2015 2:00 am

I contacted Macon Magic before, and I believe they told me they no longer breed them. That was a few years ago, so I may be remembering incorrectly, but pretty sure that's what they said.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby TexasYankee » Sat May 30, 2015 10:56 am

Ash, that's a pity. One thing I've noticed is that a disproportionate number of breeders seem to be in Texas, likely because of the lax laws on most species. I wonder if ringtails would be more wildly available if they were unambiguously legal in Texas. Of course ringtails are unambiguously legal in Florida (another state with a disproportionate number of breeders), so perhaps not.

Incidentally, Wikipedia says that female cacomistles are receptive to males for one day out of the year. If that's true, it explains why captive-bred ones are so hard to come by.
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Re: Texas and furbearers

Postby Ash » Sat May 30, 2015 9:45 pm

TexasYankee wrote:Ash, that's a pity. One thing I've noticed is that a disproportionate number of breeders seem to be in Texas, likely because of the lax laws on most species. I wonder if ringtails would be more wildly available if they were unambiguously legal in Texas. Of course ringtails are unambiguously legal in Florida (another state with a disproportionate number of breeders), so perhaps not.

Incidentally, Wikipedia says that female cacomistles are receptive to males for one day out of the year. If that's true, it explains why captive-bred ones are so hard to come by.


There was a member here who also said that she was able to get her past pair to breed each year--but that infanticide was very high. So she never got any babies. Another member who was here briefly worked at a wildlife center and the ringtail there had a baby and the mother was moving it around a lot (sign of stress).

This seems to imply that breeding them is difficult, and mom may stress very easily in captivity. They may need to be pulled young like fennec foxes are to avoid this. But then you keep passing on the "bad mommy" gene to the babies.
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