I had parrots from the time I was ten until the time (shortly after college), I attempted to move abroad permanently. Though that attempt lasted only two years, I gave up my parrots to a retired guy and haven't gotten any more animals in the years since, mostly because I still wanted to live abroad. Now that I've finally realized that my future lies in this county (I love my homeland, I just really enjoy being a foreigner), I've decided to get some more pets, but figured I'd wait until I get to Texas, then after I'm settled in I'll go on Craigslist, where people are always giving up parrots.
I also figured that I'd look into getting some exotic mammals. Massachusetts has fairly restrictive laws on exotic animals (though oddly slightly less restrictive than the Live Free or Die State to our north where birds and mammals are concerned). So I was initially excited about moving to Texas, because Texas allows lions, bears, and chimps as pets with a license and monkeys without one, so obviously they'll allow the mammals I've always fantasized about having.
Well, as it turns out...
- Texas banned #3 on my exotic mammal wishlist--the nine-banded armadillo--because the wild ones carry leprosy.
- Several other mammals on my wishlist (Virginia opossums, ringtails, and raccoons) are banned for pet purposes as "furbearers." I read somewhere, and now cannot find the source, that this is a very recent development. Apparently a few years ago the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife decided to reinterpret the laws on furbearer licenses as implicitly banning the holding of these animals for all other purposes.
- Meerkats and dwarf mongooses are illegal as pets in the entire United States. The Lacey Act prohibited the highly invasive small Asian mongoose and gave the Secretary of Agriculture authority to prohibit other potentially invasive animals. The FWS now bans most mongooses including meerkats. Of course most mongooses are limited to small ranges in Africa, and non-invasive. The FWS claims that the ban is required by the original text. I emailed the FWS asking politely what their reasoning is when the Lacey Act only names a single, highly-invasive species. I have yet to get a reply.
- Of the remaining animals I've fantasized about keeping, all but one (the prairie dog) are rarely or never kept as pets in the United States.