Ownership of Wild and Exotic Animals

At its September 20, 2017,  meeting, the Board of Supervisors of Arlington County voted unanimously to amend Chapter 2 of the County Code to prohibit residents from keeping wild and exotic animals, as defined in Arlington County Code Chapter 2-18, as pets.

The following animals are prohibited as pets in the County effective immediately. Residents who currently own animals covered by the prohibition should register their animals with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington no later than November 19, 2017, to be grandfathered.

Prohibited Animals:

  • Non-human primates
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Wolves or wolf hybrids
  • Coyotes
  • Squirrels
  • Foxes
  • Leopards
  • Panthers
  • Tigers
  • Lions
  • Bears
  • Wild cats including hybrids (e.g., bobcat, lynx , and caracal),
  • Ratites (flightless birds)
  • Crocodilians
  • Venomous snakes, venomous reptiles (already banned and not eligible for registration)
  • Any other warm-blooded mammal that can normally be found in the wild state
  • Members of the order Scorpiones (scorpions) other than those in the genus Pandinus, which are permitted
  • Centipedes of the genus Scolopendra
  • Spiders of the genus Latrodectus (widow spiders); spiders of the genus Loxosceles (recluse spiders); spiders of the family Dipluridae (funnel-web spiders); spiders of the genus Phoneutria  (banana spiders aka wandering spiders); spiders of the family Ctenizidae (trap-door spiders); spiders of the genus Sicarius (sand spiders); and spiders of the family Theraphosidae (tarantulas), EXCEPT for Theraphosids native to  North and South America and Brachypelma smithi (Mexican redknee tarantula), which are permitted.

Registration of Prohibited Animals

Arlington County residents who own any of the above-listed animals have until November 19, 2017, to register those animals here. There is no fee for registration.

Permitted Animals

Rabbits, rats, mice, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and guinea pigs that have been bred in captivity are excluded from the definition of “wild or exotic animal,” and are permitted as pets. Also excluded from this definition and allowed as pets are all domestically bred or legally imported birds that are not ratites, non-venomous snakes, non-venomous reptiles, amphibians, and fish.