Keeping Wildlife Wild

Keeping of Wildlife as Pets

From time to time we deal with native, non-native, exotic, or hybridized animals that are either turned loose or escaped from their owner's property.

You cannot lawfully keep many species of wildlife, or are required to have special permits to do so in Massachusetts.

To avoid conflicts with the law, we encourage the public to learn the laws pertaining to the possession of wildlife in Massachusetts before they acquire an animal.

Summary of Law

No person may possess as a "pet" a wild bird, mammal, fish, reptile, or amphibian without a permit unless the animal was owned prior to June 30, 1995.

A wild bird, mammal, fish, reptile, or amphibian is defined as any undomesticated animal that is not the product of hybridization with a domestic form and not otherwise contained in the exemption list.

See MassWildlife for more information about the keeping of wildlife laws.