Delaware adopts exotics regulations

Delaware has enacted a set of new regulations that puts increased restrictions on owners of exotic animals.

The state Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health and Food Products Inspection adopted the regulations last month, and they became effective Dec. 28.

The regulations give the state veterinarian the authority to grant, deny or revoke permits for people wishing to own, sell, display or rehabilitate an exotic animal. The regulation defines “exotic” as “a live wild mammal, hybrid of a wild mammal, and a live reptile not native to or generally found in Delaware. An exotic animal is ecologically foreign to Delaware.” The regulations make exceptions for certain exotics.

According to the new law, exotic pet owners are required to set up and have proof of primary and secondary “escape-proof” enclosures for the animal, as well as possibly submitting to background checks. Permit applicants are also “required to demonstrate knowledge of enclosure and welfare standards for the species under consideration with the application,” and must have written emergency evacuation plans for the animals. The individual permits for pet owners must be renewed every three years.

Owners of pets that are covered under the regulations must apply for a separate permit for every animal that they own. Rehabilitators only need one permit for up to 20 animals.

Exotics exempt from the rules:

Mammals: Chinchillas, degus, ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, hedgehogs, mice, Norway rats, possums, rabbits, sugar gliders.

Reptiles: Anoles, agamas, Asian water dragons, basilisks, bearded dragons, chameleons, geckos, iguanas, skinks (except the five-lined skink), swift lizards, tegus.

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