17 types of animals it is illegal to own as pets in the UK

MANY of us will have pets that have become beloved parts of the family.

Sunday, 1st May 2022, 5:36 pm

If you are thinking of finally opening your home to an animal but have yet to decide on which kind it is important to make sure you don’t end up settling on one that could be illegal.

From breeds of dogs to larger animals, there are strict laws about the ownership of pets in the UK.

It is illegal to own some animals without a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976

Sign up to our daily newsletter

A Red Panda. Picture: MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

So before you pick your next pet make sure you are aware of the rules.

Here are some of the animals it is illegal to own in the UK:

Banned dog breeds

There are four breeds of dogs which are banned under the Dangerous Dog Act 1991.

They are as follows:

- Pit Bull Terrier

- Japanese Tosa

- Dogo Argentino

- Fila Brasileiro

Tigers

It is illegal to own a tiger without a proper license under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

Tasmanian Devil

You need a license to own a Tasmanian Devil under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

Read More

Read More
9 laws that could land dog owners with huge fines or even prison

Kangaroos

A license is also needed to own animals from the Macropodidae family – which includes: The western and eastern grey kangaroos, the wallaroo and the red kangaroo.

Monkeys

It is illegal to own the following monkeys without a license:

- New-world monkeys (including capuchin, howler, saki, uacari, spider and woolly monkeys).

- Night monkeys (also known as owl monkeys), titi monkeys and squirrel monkeys are excepted.

- Old-world monkeys (including baboons, the drill, colobus monkeys, the gelada, guenons, langurs, leaf monkeys, macaques, the mandrill, mangabeys, the patas and proboscis monkeys and the talapoin).

Apes, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 makes it illegal to own animals from the Hominidae family without a proper license.

These include: Anthropoid apes; chimpanzees, bonobos, orang-utans and gorillas.

It is also illegal to own Gibbons and Siamangs.

Lemurs

You can’t own the following types of lemurs without a proper license:

- Leaping lemurs (including the indri and sifakas)

- Large lemurs – Bamboo or gentle lemurs are excepted

Wild dogs, wolves and similar

It is illegal to own animals from the Canidae without a license including the following:

- Wild dogs, wolves, jackals, the maned wolf, the bush dog and the dhole.

- Foxes, raccoon dogs and the domestic dog (but not the dingo) are excepted.

Big cats

While house cats are perfectly legal to own, the larger relations in the felidae family require a license, including:

- All cats including the bobcat, caracal, cheetah, jaguar, leopard, lion, lynx, ocelot, puma, serval and tiger.

The following are excepted:

- the wild cat, the pallas cat, the little spotted cat, the Geoffroy’s cat, the kodkod, the bay cat, the sand cat, the black-footed cat, the rusty-spotted cat and the domestic cat;

- a hybrid cat which is descended exclusively from any one or more species within paragraph (a);

- a hybrid cat having as one parent a domestic cat and as the other parent a first generation hybrid of a domestic cat and any cat not within paragraph (a);

- any cat which is descended exclusively from any one or more hybrids within paragraph (c);

- any cat which is descended exclusively from a domestic cat and any one or more hybrids within paragraph (c).

Hyenas

It is illegal to own Hyenas without a license except for the aardwolf

Badgers

It is illegal to own the following badgers and other animals from the Mustelidae family without a license:

- badgers (except the Eurasian badger)

- otters (except the European otter)

- tayra badger

- wolverine

- fisher badger and ratel (otherwise known as the honey badger)

Bears

It is illegal to own any bear without a license including the giant panda and the red panda.

Giraffe

It is illegal to own a giraffe without a license.

Alligators and crocodiles

It is also illegal to own alligators or crocodiles without a license.

Certain spider breeds

It is illegal to own the following spiders without a license:

- Wandering spiders

- The Sydney funnel-web spider and its close relatives

- Brown recluse spiders (otherwise known as violin spiders)

- The widow spiders and close relatives