Can You Have a Penguin as a Pet?

Many people enjoy exotic animals as pets. For example, owning penguins as pets can be exciting and a novelty for family, friends, and visitors. But, in the United States, if youre considering penguins as pet animals, think again. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and even your local government officials have rules and regulations regarding importing and keeping exotic animals.

But here is an old video I found where strangely enough, there was supposedly a family in Japan who kept a king penguin as a pet. Unless you own/work in a zoo, wild animals like penguins should stay where they love to live best, in their natural surroundings with their own kind.

On the other hand, chimpanzees, Bearded dragons, Wallaby (mini Kangaroo), and even hedgehogs are considered legal pets in some US states. Even if you did establish a wildlife sanctuary and desired to buy and own a penguin as a pet, there are many government loopholes you would have to jump through. Next, the penguin would require a suitable habitat with plenty of fresh vegetation, a regulated temperature, a large and deep saltwater pool.

And finally, you must have access to a skilled vet that can diagnose and treat any illnesses or infections such as Bird Flu that may arise. The trade of illegal wildlife affects the dwindling population of the worlds most beautiful and unique animals, including penguins, elephants, pangolin, and tigers. For example, it has been shown that the first SARS pandemic of the 21st century is linked to Chinas wet markets where wild animals are handled, bought, and sold for pets, food, or superstition.

They must not possess strong fight or flight tendencies They must mature quickly to match the humans short life span

How much does a penguin cost as a pet?

How much does a penguin cost? Based on ads on the internet, penguins costs from $1000 to $22,000. You’ll need a female and male as they’re monogamous. Penguins can eat up to 400 to 500 pounds of fish annually and must be fed daily.

Can you cuddle a penguin?

If you wish to hug a penguin, you should stick to plush penguins like me. As has been pointed out by many others, adult penguins aren’t anywhere near as cuddly and while you may sometimes pet them under supervision, hugging them would be ill advised.

Are penguins friendly?

They’re super friendly with people. Penguins’ main predators (seals, sea lions, whales, and sharks) all reside in the water, so these birds feel much safer on land around researchers and tourists — for better or for worse.

Life gets more exciting when you live on the wild side. For most people, that means taking adventurous vacations or refusing to settle for the status quo not necessarily choosing an unusual pet. However, if the domesticated cat or dog isnt interesting enough for you, you might be tempted to try to raise a boa constrictor, an unusual rodent, or even a large cat. But when it comes to owning exotic pets, you might be in for more than you realize.

But if youve always dreamed of having your own bat cave or working on your echolocation skills, youll have a tough time in the United States. And you can only transport a bat if youre affiliated with a legitimate sanctuary, scientific organization, or registered establishment for educational programming.

So it bans the animal completely, citing the threat to native fish, wildlife, agriculture, and public health and safety. States including California, Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, and Maine also prohibit residents from keeping these little animals as pets. Hedgehog Central , a site that advocates for the understanding and enjoyment of these creatures, also reports Pennsylvania forbids private ownership.

Even if you do obtain a permit to interfere with penguins and their eggs in the wild, you have to report the specimen to the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research for approval if you want to collect it. Interestingly, The Guardian says about 4,500 primates are privately owned in the U.K. That number includes apes, lemurs, and bush babies. In other states including Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and Virginia they are legal to own but subject to restrictions.

Maine requires a permit but is reportedly reluctant to issue any. And Ohio allows them if you trim their flight feathers. Youll have a hard time owning these cats in numerous states , including New York, Georgia, Massachusetts, Iowa, Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware, Connecticut, and Indiana. The agency considers the breed a wildlife hybrid and requires special permits to import or export Bengal cats.

PetHelpful notes though Bengals dont exactly behave like wild cats, they are very active and intelligent and do have some behavioral quirks. States including Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Wyoming prohibit private ownership of wolf hybrids. They set minimum standards for enclosures and have strict rabies laws that could result in an animal being euthanized if it bites someone.

Many people are fans of penguins or think of penguins as their favorite animal, hence it is only natural to want to own a penguin. However, owning a penguin is a little more complex than owning a family dog.

Before even thinking about owning a penguin, you will need a constant supply of fish and possible vitamin supplements. Penguins need to be fed daily and there are not any kennels that are equipped to handle a pet penguin.

Around 400 pounds a year in fish per penguin. Penguins need a habitat with vegetation, enrichment, temperature control and a large deep pool of clean salt water. The pool of water can be fresh water but salt water is preferred Maintenance alone is very expensive.

You will also need to find a vet who is capable of diagnosing and treating penguins. Before any thought of owning a penguin is considered, make sure to locate a vet who can treat and diagnose a penguin. To own a penguin legally will require a lot of permits and paperwork, plus you would only be able to obtain a penguin that was born in captivity from a facility holding USDA permits.

Like other species of birds, penguins do better in number so you wouldn’t want to own 1 or 2 because penguins are social animals. Unfortunately, you will not see penguins for sale on this or any other website. Adelie PenguinsAfrican PenguinsChinstrap PenguinsEmperor PenguinsErect-crested PenguinsFiordland PenguinsGentoo PenguinsGalapagos PenguinsHumboldt PenguinsKing PenguinsLittle PenguinsMagellanic PenguinsMacroni PenguinsRockhopper PenguinsRoyal PenguinsSnares PenguinsYellow-eyed PenguinsNo Penguins currently listed for placement

If we were going to be completely honest, we would all admit that our main criterion when choosing a pet is the number of Oohs and OMGs it will receive. In their attempt to get the Coolest Pet Ever award, some people have started looking into obtaining an exotic animal. In particular, it appears that getting a penguin as a pet is quite a hot topic these days.

Nevertheless, people can still keep a number of exotic animals in the US as pets if they can provide the right conditions for them. So although you can keep a hedgehog, an anteater, or even a chimpanzee in some US states, the same doesnt apply to having a penguin as a pet.

For the longest time, penguins were hunted and killed for food and fat, while their habitats were continually destroyed by climate change and unaware humans. The purpose of the document is to regulate the international trade of wild animals, including penguins. Even if you owned a zoo, trying to get one of these adorable waddly creatures could easily turn into a financial and logistical nightmare.

Most people make the classic mistake of assuming that all penguins really need is some ice and really cold weather. Penguins are pack animals, which means they require constant companionship in order to stay healthy and happy. Those waddly things love swimming and playing in the water, and they do need a lot of room for all the shebang.

In addition, penguins eat several times a day, which means they will require a lot of your attention. If you add to that the fact that youd also have to make up for lost nutrients and minerals that they otherwise get naturally, you can hopefully understand why keeping a penguin as a pet is not feasible. To spare you the mental (and somewhat olfactory) image, let us just keep it at this getting a penguin equals a lot of cleaning.

So getting penguins for your zoo and hoping children could pet them and take cute photos with them is absolutely out of the question. One penguin can set you back by anywhere between $1,000 and $22,000 per bird, the price depending on its species, age, and sex. Finally, if you have any sort of influence in your community or on social media, you can partner with an organization that is involved in educating people about penguins.

Literally, any small thing you decide to do with organizations means help for the lovable, cuddly creatures. In return, you will get an adoption certificate, species card, plush toy, and gift bag.

What is considered an exotic animal?

Many animals are considered wild or exotic. And, no one state bans all wildlife from becoming a domesticated pet. It depends on where you live and what animals you mean. For example, birds are wild animals, but you can own most bird species as a pet. Reptiles, even ones from exotic lands, are often kept as pets.So, why not penguins? Penguins are aquatic and flightless birds found living in the Southern Hemisphere. Countries like South Africa, Australia, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, and several sub-Antarctic islands are home to the various 18 penguin species. Eleven of these species are officially on the endangered wildlife list. So, that will give you a clue as to why governments are not likely to start allowing penguins as pets.So, while many other exotic animals not native or indigenous to America are legal as pets, penguins are not one. On the other hand, chimpanzees, Bearded dragons, Wallaby (mini Kangaroo), and even hedgehogs are considered legal pets in some US states.

When owning a penguin can be legal

The United States is one of many countries that have adopted laws that protect penguins of the Antarctic. It is specified in thePenguins come in all sizes, from the large Emperor penguin that weighs around 75 pounds and stands nearly four feet tall to the smaller Little Blue penguins weighing only two pounds and reaching 16” tall. Today, all species of penguins are legally protected from hunting and egg collecting.

General laws about exotic pets

Hawaii has the strictest pet ownership laws because its ecosystem could be disrupted by invasive species. PetHelpful reports the tropical state has the most restrictions. It goes so far as to quarantine even domesticated cats and dogs when they first enter the state. (That way, it can ensure they’re not carrying rabies.) Guinea pigs, domesticated mice, and select species of birds and turtles are permitted on the islands, though certain species are restricted.On the other end of the spectrum, five states don’t ban residents from owning exotic pets — even lions, tigers, and bears. Nevada, Wisconsin, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina each have lax laws when it comes to pet ownership. If you’ve always dreamed of owning the animals you can usually only find in zoos, those are the states where you stand the best chance.An estimated 65% of American households own at least one pet. So it’s not surprising we’ve gotten creative with our choice of animals. The American Bar Association reports the exotic pet trade is worth between $10 billion and $15 billion in the U.S. alone. Still, some pets are more widely shunned than others. If you want to own any of the fascinating exotic pets ahead, you might run into problems.

Bats

Some species of bats are federally protected animals. That means it’s illegal to kill them, even when they wind up inside your home. But if you’ve always dreamed of having your own bat cave or working on your echolocation skills, you’ll have a tough time in the United States. Those same federal protections also make it illegal to capture wild bats for domestication.Transporting bats within the U.S. requires a permit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And you can only transport a bat if you’re affiliated with a legitimate sanctuary, scientific organization, or registered establishment for educational programming. In other words, the U.S. makes it very difficult to get a bat as a pet.If you’re seriously batty for these creatures, keep this in mind: Bats can live up to 25 years. But that life expectancy shrinks to just one year or less if they’re in captivity.

Big cats

Simba and Mufasa were fun to watch. But owning your own lion — or tiger, or leopard — is pretty difficult to achieve when you live in the U.S. Twenty-one states in the U.S. ban all dangerous exotic pets. And big cats fall into that category. The previously mentioned five states –Nevada, Wisconsin, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina — don’t require a permit. They generally allow big cat ownership. And some states, including Pennsylvania, Texas, and Montana, allow it if the person obtains a permit.Other states, such as Florida, refer to big cats and other large animals as Class I Wildlife. That classification refers to animals that pose a serious danger to humans. Such states don’t allow Class I animals to be owned legally for private use. But you can obtain a permit for commercial purposes.

Sugar gliders

Sugar gliders have gained a reputation as a cute, nocturnal relative of the flying squirrel. But several states have prohibited their residents from owning these animals as pets. This could be because of the large, aviary-like space they require. Or regulators might have considered all of the noise these little animals make. Whatever the reasons, they’re illegal in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Utah.Additionally, states, such as Pennsylvania, require a permit to keep a sugar glider, PetHelpful reports. California, a state known for its strict pet-ownership laws, believes sugar gliders could be a threat to natural ecosystems. So it bans the animal completely, citing the threat to native fish, wildlife, agriculture, and public health and safety.

Skunks

You might think anyone willing to have a skunk in their home has gone off the deep end. But plenty of people in the U.S. think these animals make wonderful pets. Nonetheless, even if you have a skunk’s scent glands surgically removed, there’s no guarantee you’ll be allowed to own one.“Skunks should be considered illegal until verified otherwise,” PetHelpful advises potential owners. According to a 2008 report from PBS, only 17 states allowed the people to own skunks as pets. Keep in mind cities and municipalities might also have their own rules about pet ownership, particularly regarding such unpopular animals. So check with your local government before deciding a skunk can take up residence in your home.

Alligators

In most states, alligators are best left to golf courses and wild marshes, not your backyard. FindLaw reports you can’t own alligators without at least a permit — or at all — in many states. If your state does allow you to own an alligator, you must provide an enclosure that keeps the animal in and potential intruders out. You also need to take full liability for owning such a creature. Even a small bite from an alligator can prove deadly.Plus, you’ll need to allow local wildlife authorities to regularly inspect your alligator’s habitat. Experienced personnel not only can help keep your pet from escaping, but can also monitor your alligator’s welfare.

Hedgehogs

They’re tiny, spiky balls of fun. But not every state is keen on allowing hedgehogs. Surprisingly, these little bundles of quills are controversial among animal experts and animal activists. Some say hedgehogs’ nocturnal nature makes them unsuitable for human entertainment and companionship. But others think they make great pets.You can’t own a hedgehog in New York City and in some other municipalities. States including California, Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, and Maine also prohibit residents from keeping these little animals as pets. Hedgehog Central, a site that advocates for the understanding and enjoyment of these creatures, also reports Pennsylvania forbids private ownership.

Slow lorises

Slow lorises are small primates native to Northeast India and Southeast Asia. Even though you can purchase them in other countries, such as Russia and Japan, PetHelpful reports it’s illegal to export them. Even if you were to acquire a slow loris, it’s unethical to do so. They are typically captured directly from the wild. Then, they get transported in horrible conditions. And often, they have their back teeth painfully removed.It’s unlikely you’ll even see slow lorises in zoos, at least anywhere in North America, as they’re not easy to breed or take care of. (That means they don’t make easy animals for pet owners to care for either.) You might see sweet videos of them on the internet. But keep in mind those owners likely do not live in the states.

Penguins

Many people believe penguins need the arctic temperatures to survive. But that’s not actually the case. Many breeds happily live in milder climates. However, that doesn’t mean you should trade in your parakeet for a penguin. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment explains all 18 species of penguins are protected. Even if you do obtain a permit to interfere with penguins and their eggs in the wild, you have to report the specimen to the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research for approval if you want to collect it.An international treaty, called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also regulates the trade of certain wildlife species, penguins included. And a few species of penguins, such as the African and Galapagos, are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Because penguins are so carefully protected, there’s no way you’ll be able to own one in the states as a pet.

Monkeys

Owning a primate gets tricky in the U.S. Some states might allow it. But most do not. Interestingly, The Guardian says about 4,500 primates are privately owned in the U.K. That number includes apes, lemurs, and bush babies. Some of these are owned by trained professionals. But most are kept by regular pet owners, as it’s technically legal to have one in the U.K.Even if you’re dying to have a marmoset on your shoulder in the U.S., we heavily advise against it. Certain states, including the Carolinas, Georgia, Kansas, and Oklahoma, don’t have laws to prevent primate ownership. But Business Insider says most other states either prohibit it or will only allow you to own such animals with a special permit. The upshot? You should probably just leave the monkeys at the zoo.

Fennec foxes

Never heard of a fennec fox before? You’ll definitely want one after you see photos of their huge ears and small, furry bodies. According to the San Diego Zoo, this breed of fox is the smallest of them all. That seems to make them desirable to those longing for exotic pets. Although some states might technically allow them, they often get sold illegally. That can result in habitat loss in their native Sahara and North Africa.A surprising number of states do allow fennec foxes. And they’re relatively common as far as exotic pets go. Still, according to Born Free USA, some states have much stricter laws than others about owning any type of exotic animal.

Ferrets

Not all of the pets that are illegal to keep in the United States are actually uncommon pets. Some, such as ferrets, seem pretty ordinary, but they might actually put you on the wrong side of your state’s pet ownership laws. As PetMD reports, ferrets were once banned in many U.S. cities. But many legislatures repealed those laws in the 1980s and 1990s, when ferrets became popular pets.However, you still can’t legally own a ferret in California, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico. Individual cities, including New York City and Washington, D.C., still prohibit them. You need a permit to own a ferret in Rhode Island. And if you live in Illinois or Georgia, you don’t need a permit to own a ferret, but you do need one to breed them.The American Ferret Association has the state-by-state details. Just know ferrets aren’t truly domesticated animals and will revert back to their wild state if they escape. Plus, they can carry rabies and canine distemper virus. And ultimately, they are predators with very sharp teeth — even if they’re small.

Tokay geckos

Ferrets aren’t the only exotic pets Hawaii bans its residents from keeping. The Aloha State prohibits pet owners from having geckos, too. Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources explains geckos caught in the wild in Hawaii are legal to keep “as long as they are not the non-native Tokay geckos or any of the Day geckos, which are listed as injurious wildlife and whose import is illegal.” These species are insectivores that have changed Hawaii’s ecology.Reptiles Magazine notes the Tokay gecko is common in pet stores across the U.S., even ones that don’t specialize in exotic pets. But this “beginner’s gecko,” though easy to take care of, is willing to bite just about any hand that comes into their domain. Plus, they usually end up in the United States courtesy of an unethical pet trade industry. For those reasons, you might want to pick a different pet — even if you don’t live in Hawaii.

Quaker parrots

The Quaker parrot, also known as the monk parakeet, have comical personalities and an energetic nature, according to The Spruce. They also form strong bonds with their owners and have “exceptional talking abilities.” Sounds delightful, right? Not if you live in one of the many states that prohibit residents from owning these birds as pets. Petcha reports in California, Wyoming, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, these birds are illegal to own.In other states — including Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and Virginia — they are legal to own but subject to restrictions. Georgia, for instance, prohibits them as pets but allows them with a breeder’s license. Maine requires a permit but is reportedly “reluctant to issue any.” And Ohio allows them if you trim their flight feathers. Many states want to prevent large colonies of free-flying Quakers from forming and destroying vegetation.

Bengal cats

When you think of illegal exotic pets, you probably don’t envision a lazy cat sprawled out on your couch. But you’ll need to rethink that assumption if you want to own a Bengal cat, a hybrid that originated from a cross of a domestic cat and small Asian leopard cat. You’ll have a hard time owning these cats in numerous states, including New York, Georgia, Massachusetts, Iowa, Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware, Connecticut, and Indiana. Individual cities, such as Seattle and Denver, also ban them.Bengal cat owners might also find themselves in trouble with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency considers the breed a “wildlife hybrid” and requires special permits to import or export Bengal cats. Bengal cat owners have petitioned the agency to consider their animals a domestic breed because these domestic cats are many generations removed from the wild Asian leopard cat. (There’s been no luck so far.) PetHelpful notes though Bengals don’t exactly behave like wild cats, they are very active and intelligent and do have some behavioral quirks.

Feeding a Penguin

Before even thinking about owning a penguin, you will need a constant supply of fish and possible vitamin supplements. Penguins need to be fed daily and there are not any kennels that are equipped to handle a pet penguin. Around 400 pounds a year in fish per penguin.

Housing a Penguin

Penguins need a habitat with vegetation, enrichment, temperature control and a large deep pool of clean salt water. The pool of water can be fresh water but salt water is preferred Maintenance alone is very expensive.You will also need to find a vet who is capable of diagnosing and treating penguins. Before any thought of owning a penguin is considered, make sure to locate a vet who can treat and diagnose a penguin.

Penguins for Sale

To own a penguin legally will require a lot of permits and paperwork, plus you would only be able to obtain a penguin that was born in captivity from a facility holding USDA permits. Like other species of birds, penguins do better in number so you wouldn’t want to own 1 or 2 because penguins are social animals.Unfortunately, you will not see penguins for sale on this or any other website.

The Legal Side of the Matter

Most of us have heard of Lala, the King penguin that went shopping for fish — he is usually the reason someone decides they want a penguin as a pet. But there are several things we generally fail to notice: Lala was a rescue, and he lived in Japan years ago.As you can imagine, things are slightly different in the United States.

Penguins Are Classified As Exotic Animals

Although an animal being exotic doesn’t automatically make owning it illegal, it definitely makes it all the more complicated to buy one legally.Nevertheless, people can still keep a number of exotic animals in the US as pets if they can provide the right conditions for them. And that is by no means easy. So although you can keep a hedgehog, an anteater, or even a chimpanzee in some US states, the same doesn’t apply to having a penguin as a pet.In fact, although it sounds colossally unfair, especially if you really want it, you can’t keep a pet penguin legally in the US. To be even more specific, there is no country in the world that would allow you to get one.

And They’re an Endangered Species

For the longest time, penguins were hunted and killed for food and fat, while their habitats were continually destroyed by climate change and unaware humans. As a result, out of eighteen penguin species known to humankind, ten are currently considered endangered.Unsurprisingly, that puts penguins in the same group as gorillas and rhinos, which means international laws are set to protect them. In order to prevent such species from going extinct, the World Conservation Union drafted and signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.The purpose of the document is to regulate the international trade of wild animals, including penguins.As a result, no one, anywhere in the world, can purchase a penguin as a pet. It just cannot be done legally in that capacity. That, however, does not mean it cannot be done legally at all.

You Cannot Have Only One

Penguins are pack animals, which means they require constant companionship in order to stay healthy and happy. Therefore, if you are considering getting a penguin for your zoo, you might as well consider getting more than one from the get-go.Ideally, penguins love being in groups of about twenty, but buying two or three the first time around would do just fine. Just keep in mind that penguins are monogamous, so if you are buying two, make sure one is male and one female.

They Are Not the Cleanest Animals

As if their voracious appetite wasn’t enough, you ought to be aware of the fact that penguins defecate a lot too. To spare you the mental (and somewhat olfactory) image, let us just keep it at this — getting a penguin equals a lot of cleaning.Suddenly, not being able to keep a penguin as a pet doesn’t seem so bad, right?

If You Can’t Buy, Adopt

Did you know that you can sponsor a penguin through a wildlife preservation organization? On the off-chance that you are not the owner of a prosperous zoo, this is as close to having a penguin as a pet as you can get.Mind you, adopting a penguin is not a symbolic act through and through. Granted, you will not be able to take yours home and take care of it, but you will affect its life and help the preservation of the species.

What Adoption Entails for the Penguins

Depending on the organization you choose, the help you can provide will vary. You could support the care of penguins in captivity. In some cases, you might finance cleaning up oil spills that endanger not only them but also other seabirds.What’s more, there are a great number of projects that delve into preserving penguin habitats. They care for injured or abandoned baby penguins or help increase the penguin population in captivity.Finally, if you have any sort of influence in your community or on social media, you can partner with an organization that is involved in educating people about penguins. Literally, any small thing you decide to do with organizations means help for the lovable, cuddly creatures.

What Adoption Entails for You

By now, you’ve hopefully come to terms with the fact that you cannot keep a penguin as a pet. When you decide to sponsor a penguin instead, however, the organization you choose will make sure to acknowledge your efforts. Depending on what you decide to do, the benefits you receive from the adoption will vary.For example, some organizations provide personalized adoption certificates to penguin benefactors. Others provide photos of the adopted penguin, or they give you an opportunity to name the penguin.Most of the time, educational materials, books, and other freebies are given in the process of adopting a penguin. At times, the thank-you package includes a private visit to the organization’s facilities and getting to know your penguin. When the donation is quite big, the benefactors even get a special treat. They get a chance to take part in the release of a penguin into the wild.However, if you truly want to help, you will not choose the organization based on the benefits you would get. You will make your decision based on what you can do to help.

World Animal Foundation

For $39, WAF gives you an opportunity to adopt or gift an adoption certificate of a Fairy, King, or Emperor penguin. Your donation will go directly to WAF’s funds for penguin conservation.

World Wildlife Fund

As a part of its gift program, WWF offers the choice between several penguin species. You can opt to help Gentoo penguins, Black-Footed penguins, as well as adult and baby Emperor penguins. In all cases, the sponsorship will set you back by $55. In return, you will get an adoption certificate, species card, plush toy, and gift bag.

Oceana

At Oceana, you can choose between several adoption kits, ranging between $35 and $100. The kits differ in the thank-you pack you receive, but they all equally help preserve penguins.