Piranhas and other exotic pets you can legally own in NJ
While watching a YouTube video the other day on odd things about different states and other parts of the world, I discovered something about New Jersey.
While it is illegal to own a piranha fish in many states, you CAN own one in New Jersey. It is illegal in most southern states, along with some in New England and out west, you can legally own piranhas in the great Garden State.
With all of the things that are prohibited here, it's a miracle that some legislator with nothing better to do hasn't proposed to make it illegal here.
As a matter of fact, there are several exotic pets, surprisingly, you can own, here in New Jersey.
Here are a few if you're looking for something cuddly and a little different to keep you company in your home here in our pet-friendly, but not always human-friendly state.
SKUNKS - I know several people who feed them on their property. Surprisingly, unlike our neighboring states, prominent rabies carriers like skunks are legal with a permit in NJ. These cuddly creatures are popular exotic pets that are captive-bred, "de-skunked," and considered to be domesticated.
POSSUMS - Officially called "opossums" can be kept In New Jersey, if purchased from a licensed pet dealer. A Captive Game Permit would be needed. If you're thinking about catching one in your yard, it's important to know you cannot obtain a raccoon, skunk or opossum from the wild and keep it as a pet.
RED SQUIRRELS - There are five types of squirrels found in New Jersey including the Eastern Grey Squirrel, The Fox Squirrel, The Northern Flying Squirrel, The Southern Flying Squirrel and the Red Squirrel. Our state has a list of animals that are not regulated and can be kept without a permit. The red squirrel is on this list, as are chipmunks and flying squirrels.
BOA CONTRICTORS - They're also called a red-tailed boas. This is a relatively large species with a name that scares people who know little about snakes. They are actually common in the pet trade and pose a scant risk to public safety. This species is legal to keep in New Jersey even without a permit.
RACCOONS - They cannot come from the wild, however. They must come from a licensed breeder. This is to ensure against the spread of rabies. Be aware that raccoons will likely be euthanized if they bite or scratch a member of the public to test for rabies because the vaccines are not approved for them, as is the case for most exotic mammals.
KINKAJOUS - They're cute and resemble a monkey but are actually related to raccoons. A permit is required to keep this species, which can be issued to pet owners and purchased from an authorized pet dealer.
WALLABIES - They are native to Australia and New Guinea and are members of the kangaroo family. A wallaby is another species you’ll need a permit for. They are harmless but will require secure outdoor housing to prevent escapes.
OSTRICHES - They are considered livestock and therefore do not need a permit to own one. Ostriches are giant birds from Africa and people consider them to be wild animals, but they are often legal due to their agricultural use in many states including ours. There are several ostrich farms in New Jersey from the north to southern part of the state. If you're looking to keep one as a pet, you can.
HEDGEHOGS - Yes, you can own a hedgehog in New Jersey, but you need a permit to own a hedgehog and even a ferret in the Garden State. They are pocket sized and do not pose a threat to humans or the ecosystem of our region, but you still need a permit to own one here.
PIRANHAS - You can own piranhas here in New Jersey. There are several stores that sell them here in the state, including in Williamstown, Bellville, Saddle Brook and Clifton. Keep your fingers out of the tank when feeding them!