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Virginia State Laws Governing Private Possession of Exotic Animals

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4 VAC 15-30-10 - Possession, importation, sale, etc., of wild animals.

Under the authority of §§ 29.1-103 and 29.1-521 of the Code of Virginia it shall be unlawful to take, possess, import, cause to be imported, export, cause to be exported, buy, sell, offer for sale, or liberate within the Commonwealth any wild animal unless otherwise specifically permitted by law or regulation. Unless otherwise stated, for the purposes of identifying species regulated by the board, when both the scientific and common names are listed, the scientific reference to genus and species will take precedence over common names.

4 VAC 15-30-40 - Importation requirements, possession and sale of nonnative (exotic) animals. A. Permit required. A special permit is required and may be issued by the department, if consistent with the department's fish and wildlife management program, to import, possess, or sell those nonnative (exotic) animals listed below that the board finds and declares to be predatory or undesirable within the meaning and intent of § 29.1-542 of the Code of Virginia, in that their introduction into the Commonwealth will be detrimental to the native fish and wildlife resources of Virginia:

Order Family Genus/Species Common Name
Anura Buforidae Bufo marinus Giant or marine toad*
Pipidae Xenopus spp. Tongueless or African clawed frog
Caudata mbystomatidae Ambystoma tigrium Mavortium Barred tiger salamander
A. t. Diaboli Gray tiger
A. t. Melanostictum Blotched tiger Salamander
Order Family Genus/Species Common Name
Psittaciformes Psittacidae Myiopsitta monachus Monk parakeet*
Order Family Genus/Species Common Name
Cypriniformes Catostomidae Ictiobus bubalus Smallmouth buffalo*
I. cyprinellus Bigmouth buffalo*
I. niger Black buffalo*
Characidae Pygopristis spp. Piranhas
Pygocentrus spp.
Rooseveltiella spp.
Serrasalmo spp.
Taddyella spp.
Cyprinidae Aristichyhys Nobilis Bighead carp*
Ctenopharyngodon idella Grass carp or white amur
Cyprinella lutrensis Red shiner
Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Silver carp*
Mylopharynogodom piceus Black carp
Scardinius erythrophthalmus Rudd
Tinca tinca Tench*
Gobiesociformes Gobiidae Proterorhinus marmoratus Tubenose goby
Neogobius melanostomus Round goby
Perciformes Cichlidae Tilapia spp. Tilapia
Gymnocephalus cernuum Ruffe*
Siluriformes Clariidae All Species Air-breathing catfish
Order Family Genus/Species Common Name
Artiodactyla Suidae All Species Pigs or Hogs*
Cervidae All Species Deer*
Carnivora Canidae All Species Wild Dogs,* Wolves, Coyotes or Coyote hybrids, Jackals and Foxes
Ursidae All Species Bears*
Procyonidae All Species Raccoons and* Relatives
Mustelidae All Species Weasels, Badgers,* Skunks and Otters
(except Mustela Putorius furo) Ferret
Viverridae All Species Civets, Genets, Lingsangs, Mongooses, and Fossas
Herpestidae All Species Mongooses*
Hyaenidae All Species Hyenas*
Protelidae Proteles cristatus Aardwolf*
Felidae All Species Cats*
Chiroptera All Species Bats*
Lagomorpha Lepridae Leppus Europeaeous European hare
Oryctolagus cuniculus European rabbit
Rodentia Sciuridae Cynomys spp. Prairie dogs
Order Family Genus/Species Common Name
Veneroida Dreissenidae Dreissena Polymorpha Zebra mussel
Order Family Genus/Species Common Name
Squamata Alligatoridae All Species Alligators, Caimans*
Colubridae Boiga irregularis Brown tree snake*
Crocodylidae All Species Crocodiles*
Gavialidae All Species Gavials*

B. Temporary possession permit for certain animals. Notwithstanding the permitting requirements of subsection A, a person, company or corporation possessing any nonnative (exotic) animal, designated with an asterisk (*) in subsection A, prior to July 1, 1992, must declare such possession in writing to the department by January 1, 1993. This written declaration shall serve as a permit for possession only, is not transferable, and must be renewed every five years. This written declaration must include species name, common name, number of individuals, date or dates acquired, sex (if possible), estimated age, height or length, and other characteristics such as bands and band numbers, tattoos, registration numbers, coloration, and specific markings. Possession transfer will require a new permit according to the requirements of this subsection.

C. Exception for certain monk parakeets. A permit is not required for monk parakeets (quakers) that have been captive bred and are closed-banded.

D. Exception for parts or products. A permit is not required for parts or products of those nonnative (exotic) animals listed in subsection A that may be used in the manufacture of products or used in scientific research, provided that such parts or products be packaged outside the Commonwealth by any person, company, or corporation duly licensed by the state in which the parts originate. Such packages may be transported into the Commonwealth, consistent with other state laws and regulations, so long as the original package remains unbroken, unopened and intact until its point of destination is reached. Documentation concerning the type and cost of the animal parts ordered, the purpose and date of the order, point and date of shipping, and date of receiving shall be kept by the person, business or institution ordering such nonnative (exotic) animal parts. Such documentation shall be open to inspection by a representative of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

E. Exception for certain mammals. Nonnative (exotic) mammals listed in subsection A that are imported or possessed by dealers, exhibitors, transporters, and researchers who are licensed or registered by the United States Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. §§ 2131 et seq.) will be deemed to be permitted pursuant to this section, provided that those individuals wanting to import such animals notify the department 24 hours prior to importation with a list of animals to be imported, a schedule of dates and locations where those animals will be housed while in the Commonwealth, and a copy of the current license or licenses or registration or registrations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and further provided that such animals shall not be liberated within the Commonwealth.

F. Exception for prairie dogs. The effective date of listing of prairie dogs under subsection A of this section shall be January 1, 1998. Prairie dogs possessed in captivity in Virginia on December 31, 1997, may be maintained in captivity until the animals' deaths, but they may not be sold on or after January 1, 1998, without a permit.

G. All other nonnative (exotic) animals. All other nonnative (exotic) animals not listed in subsection A of this section may be possessed and sold; provided, that such animals shall be subject to all applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations, including those that apply to threatened/endangered species, and further provided, that such animals shall not be liberated within the Commonwealth.

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