With National Puppy Day falling on March 23, your social media feeds will fill with adorable photos of puppies, maybe puppies that are available to adopt, or your friends' dogs when they were little rascals.

In the recent puppy content I've seen, there was a video of a puppy that made friends with a skunk and a raccoon. All three were living happily together in what looked like someone's house. After a little digging, I learned it was an animal sanctuary.

It made me wonder, even if you wanted a skunk, raccoon, or maybe a fox as a pet in Montana, could you have one?


All three species--skunks, raccoons, and foxes--are listed as "exotic prohibited species" by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. The semantics may be deceiving because it's hard to think of a raccoon, like the one you might find wandering through your backyard as "exotic" in Montana, but they are not domestic.

It begs the question, which exotic species aren't prohibited?

Quite a few--and some may surprise you.

Can you have these animals as pets? 

Yes and no. It depends on the animal. An "exotic noncontrolled species" according to Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks is one that "may be possessed, sold, purchased or exchanged in the state without a permit, except as provided in this subchapter or in Montana statutes or federal statutes." And just because you could doesn't mean you should.

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Many exotic animals are exotic because of the specific care they require. Iguanas, for example, are one of the lizard species that is considered "noncontrolled" but would you be able to provide what an iguana needs?

This is more than what a lot of people would do, but the video does give an idea of what taking care of an iguana is like:

Keep scrolling to see some of the kinds of exotic animals that are considered "noncontrolled species."

Montana's 'Exotic Noncontrolled Species'

Here's a sample of some of the exotic animals that the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks consider "noncontrolled species" meaning they aren't prohibited unless it falls under Montana or Federal law. For more information about these species and other "exotic noncontrolled species" refer to the guidance from Montana Fish Wildlife, and Parks.

Gallery Credit: Ashley

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