When considering interstate or international travel for your exotic pet, plan ahead because some preparations may need to start months in advance.
The information contained in this section is supplemental to Transporting Animals - Basic Requirements and Considerations and Basic Timeline for Interstate and International Travel with Animals, which apply to all animal species. In addition, please review the following AVMA resources, which were designed with you and your pet in mind.
Certain species kept as pets, such as flying squirrels, are actually regulated as captive wildlife by authorities at local, state, federal, and international levels. Captive wildlife generally require a special permit to own, possess, or even transport. If you are unsure if the species of exotic pet you have requires a permit to have, check with your state wildlife management agency. For a more detailed discussion on interstate and international movement of wildlife, please see Transporting Wildlife Species or Their Hybrids.
Laws for possessing wild animal species or their hybrids – even if kept as and exotic pet – differ across states and countries. People who own or otherwise possess these animals and find themselves no longer able or authorized to keep them must work with the appropriate authorities (e.g., State, Federal, or Tribal wildlife agencies) or legally authorized and qualified organizations (e.g., wildlife sanctuaries, zoos, or aquariums that are covered by the Animal Welfare Act or that are accredited) for proper disposition of them. No species of wild animal or exotic pet, once in captivity, should be released into the environment unless specifically authorized by authorities.
It is your responsibility to comply with the import requirements of the authorities at the destination, and the chart below will help you find the rules and regulations that impact you and your pet. In addition, the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association may be able to assist you with your pet’s international travel.