Pet Alligator Legal States
Owning a pet alligator in the United States can be complicated, but some states do allow it. There are states that consider alligators exotic animals and have banned ownership. Some states will allow you to own one with proper licensing or permits. There are five states that allow alligator ownership without a single permit or license:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
Florida allows for the ownership of alligators with a license. Other states that allow pet alligators with a permit include Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, and Vermont. In all other states, owning a pet alligator is illegal.
When alligators are not allowed, it is due to their safety risk, as they are considered to be inherently dangerous. Along with having to check what is required to own an alligator, you will need to check with your local and state authorities as to what other requirements you must have in place to own an alligator.
Owning Alligators is Federally Regulated
States do provide for ownership of alligators in some cases, but there are also federal regulations that must be followed. Alligators are protected by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. This department provides for states to implement their own measures, but there are some federal regulations you will need to comply with.
Alligators will need their own enclosure, and owners will need one with both land and water. The enclosure should ideally be twice the length of the alligator, and the width should be equal to or greater than the length of the alligator.
The water component of the enclosure must have a space with depth where the alligator can submerge completely. This must be a caged enclosure, constructed with materials that this animal can not escape from. Concrete and chain link fences are common enclosure materials for alligators.
There are many other enclosure regulations for alligators that include access. Most enclosures are kept outside. Owners will need to ensure that the cage can not be accessed by people that do not have the authorization to do so.
The enclosure and water for the alligator will need to be kept clean. A drainage system will be necessary. Heat lamps for the alligator, who typically will like warm water, will also be important. Food supplies such as fish, rodents, and large insects will be preferred by alligators that are young. Adult alligators need larger food items, with meat products being ideal. Adult alligators will need rabbits, chickens, and other food products. Not feeding an alligator can be a dangerous problem, and it is advised that a food plan is in place before the animal is acquired. Owners may also be asked to provide details of such prior to licensing in states where licensing is required.