Oh My! Lions, Tigers, Bears, and More Exotic Animals That are All Perfectly Legal to Own in Indiana
When it comes to having pets, dogs and cats are typically the go-to for most people. Sure, there are those who will have the random pet snake or maybe a rabbit, we have a bearded dragon along with two cats and a dog at my house, but what if you're thinking something a little outside the conventional pet box? Perhaps something a little bigger? Something a little more, "exotic," if you will? If that's the case, I've got good news. There are several animals defined as exotic by the state of Indiana that are perfectly legal for you to own, but there is a small catch.
What Exotic Animals Can You Legally Own in Indiana?
According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), you are more than welcome to own the following exotic, or wild, animals.
Despite being classified by the DNR as "a real or potential threat to human safety," tigers, along with other wild cats such as jaguars, lions, and other similarly sized felines that could rip your throat out if they wanted to, are a-OK to have as long as they are kept in a "designated primary enclosure."
Another exotic animal that falls into the "real or potential threat to human safety" category is the crocodile. However, there is one stipulation here, it must be at least five feet long. With that said, there doesn't appear to be anything that says you can't own one less than five feet long, so maybe the DNR thinks those are less likely to kill you.
Classified as a Class II exotic animal which the DNR defines as an animal that "may pose a threat to human safety," you are more than welcome to own a skunk, although you must name it Pepé Le Pew (just kidding). But, in all seriousness, you may want to stay away from its backside.
You probably had a teddy bear as a kid, so why not have a real one as an adult? Like the aforementioned tiger and crocodile, bears fall into the class of animals that pose a "real or potential threat to human safety," but are perfectly OK to have as part of your family.
Monkeys / Primates
Technically, monkeys and other primates are nowhere on the list of exotic animals the state says you can have which I take to mean it's OK. There's nothing saying it's not, right?
What You Need in Order to Own an Exotic Animal in the State of Indiana
Unlike our neighbors to the south in Kentucky, those to the west in Illinois, and even those to the east in Ohio, Indiana does allow residents to possess a surprisingly wide range of exotic, and in some cases, dangerous, animals. But, you can just go buy one and bring it home like you can a dog or a cat. No, in order to legally keep one of these animals on your property, you must first apply for and receive a permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which, if I'm reading it correctly, will cost you a whopping $20 per permit.
While the state does allow you to have these animals and many others, you can't just go buy a tiger or a lion from someone and stick it in your backyard like you're the Tiger King. There are some requirements you must meet before the state will grant you a permit. You can find the complete list of those requirements, as well as all the animals the state says you can have if you're looking to become the next Beast Master, through the Department of Natural Resources website.