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Can you own a tegu in your state?

Laws regarding possession of exotic animals in the US are different for every state and can change from one day to another. Owning a tegu lizard in Florida was legal up until 2021 but the animals are now banned from the pet trade and all breeding must cease by 2024.

Always double check the legality of owning a tegu or exotic animal with your state’s law officials before adopting your new pet.

If you notice that some of the information below is incorrect or outdated, feel free to tell us in the comments below and we’ll address this as soon as we can.

Black and White Tegu (Salvator Merianae)
Argentine Black and White Tegu

Please note, the information below is based on reports by other tegu pet owners and may not be 100% accurate or up-to-date.

Tegu Pet Legality by State

StateLegal Status
AlabamaIllegal
AlaskaLegal
ArizonaLegal
ArkansasLegal
CaliforniaLegal
ColoradoLegal
ConnecticutNeed a Permit
DelawareLegal
FloridaIllegal
GeorgiaLegal
HawaiiIllegal
IdahoNeed a Permit
IllinoisNeed a Permit
IndianaNeed a Permit
IowaNeed a Permit
KansasIllegal
KentuckyIllegal
LouisianaIllegal
MaineLegal
MarylandLegal
MassachusettsLegal
MichiganLegal
MinnesotaIllegal
MississipiLegal
MissouriLegal – must be registered
MontanaLegal
NebraskaIllegal
NevadaLegal
New HampshireLegal
New JerseyNeed a Permit
New MexicoNeed a Permit
New YorkIllegal
North CarolinaNeed a Permit
North DakotaNeed a Permit
OhioNeed a Permit
OklahomaNeed a Permit
OregonLegal
PennsylvaniaLegal
Rhode IslandNeed a Permit
South CarolinaIllegal
South DakotaNeed a Permit
TennesseeLegal
TexasNeed a Permit
UtahNeed a Permit
VermontLegal
VirginiaLegal
WashingtonLegal
West VirginiaLegal
WisconsinNeed a Permit
WyomingLegal

Alabama

Alabama prohibits personal possession of numerous exotic animals, including tegus.

Alaska

You can own a variety of exotic animals in Alaska, including lizards and any nonvenomous reptiles.

California

Large lizards including tegus are allowed as pets and do not require a license.

Florida

Florida banned the possession of tegus in 2021. People who owned a tegu before April 29, 2021 needed to obtain a Prohibited Species for Personal Use permit which allows to keep the pet legally for the duration of its life.

Georgia

Tegu lizards are legal to own in Georgia, but they are an invasive species and it is illegal to release them in the wild. Tegus that are found in the wild can be legally trapped and killed.

Hawaii

Tegu lizards are prohibited as pets in the state of Hawaii and the laws are quite strict, there are no special permit that would allow a person to import or own a tegu under any circumstances.

Maine

Maine allows the keeping of tegus purchased from a dealer or pet shop as long as it’s healthy and legally acquired.

Massachusetts

It is legal to own a tegu and you don’t need a special permit for commonly kept species (i.e. salvator and tupinambis). A permit is required for desert tegus (dicrodon species).

Missouri

You may possess a “dangerous wild reptile” so long as you register it with local law enforcement.

New York

Tegus as well as monitor lizards and most exotic reptiles are illegal to keep in the state of New York.

North Carolina

Tegus are only legal to keep if you have a license or permit obtained prior to August 1, 2022.

Oregon

Tegus are not considered to be wild and you can keep them as pets without the need for a permit.

South Carolina

Because of new regulations as of May 28th, 2021 it is illegal to bring new tegus into South Carolina or to breed tegus within the state. Tegu holders need to register their pets with the Department of Natural Resources.

Vermont

Tegus are in the list of Unrestricted Wild Animals and as such you can keep them as pets without a permit.

Texas

Tegu lizards are banned in Texas and considered a “dangerous wild animal”. Owners must have a certificate of registration.


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