What States Are Otters Legal In

What States Are Otters Legal In?

Otters are charismatic and playful creatures that have captured the hearts of many animal lovers. Their cute appearance and mischievous behavior make them a popular choice for people looking to keep exotic pets. However, before considering owning an otter, it is crucial to understand the legalities surrounding their ownership. Otters are not legal to own as pets in all states, and the regulations can vary significantly. In this article, we will explore the states where otters are legal and provide answers to some frequently asked questions about otter ownership.

States Where Otters are Legal:

1. Florida: In Florida, it is legal to own otters as pets, provided you have a Class II permit. This permit requires meeting certain requirements, such as having a suitable enclosure and sufficient knowledge to care for the otter.

2. Nevada: Otters are legal to own in Nevada with the proper permits. However, owning a North American river otter is prohibited.

3. Indiana: Indiana allows the ownership of otters with a permit. The state requires a permit for both native and non-native otters.

4. Wisconsin: In Wisconsin, otter ownership is legal with a permit. The state requires a wildlife rehabilitation license for otters under certain circumstances.

5. Kansas: Kansas allows the ownership of otters with the necessary permits. The state requires a permit for both native and non-native otters.

6. Michigan: Michigan permits the ownership of otters, but a permit is required. Certain regulations, such as enclosure specifications and veterinary care, must be met.

7. Minnesota: Minnesota allows otter ownership with a permit. The state has specific requirements for enclosure size, enrichment, and diet.

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8. North Carolina: Otter ownership is legal in North Carolina with the appropriate permit. The state requires an annual fee and adherence to specific regulations.

9. Ohio: Ohio permits the ownership of otters with the necessary permits. Owners must meet specific requirements, including veterinary care and enclosure standards.

10. Tennessee: Tennessee allows otter ownership with a permit. Applicants must meet strict requirements, such as a background check and a comprehensive care plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Can I own an otter as a pet?

Owning an otter as a pet is legal in some states, but it requires obtaining the proper permits and meeting specific criteria. It is crucial to research and understand the regulations in your state before considering otter ownership.

2. What permits do I need to own an otter?

The permits required to own an otter vary depending on the state. Generally, a wildlife permit or exotic pet permit is necessary. Additionally, some states may require a specific otter permit or a Class II permit.

3. How much does an otter cost?

The cost of an otter can vary significantly depending on the species, breeder, and availability. Otters are considered exotic pets, and their prices can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

4. What is the lifespan of an otter?

In the wild, otters can live up to 10-15 years. However, in captivity, with proper care and nutrition, they can live up to 20 years or even longer.

5. Are otters difficult to care for?

Owning an otter requires a significant commitment of time, effort, and resources. Otters have specific dietary and environmental needs that must be met to ensure their well-being. They require a large, secure enclosure with access to water, a varied diet, and mental stimulation.

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6. Can otters be domesticated?

Otters are wild animals and cannot be fully domesticated. While they can form strong bonds with their owners, they retain their wild instincts and behaviors. Proper care and training can help manage their natural instincts and minimize potential risks.


Owning an otter as a pet can be a unique and rewarding experience. However, it is essential to understand the legalities and responsibilities involved. Before considering otter ownership, research the regulations in your state and ensure you can provide the necessary care and resources to meet their specific needs. Remember, otters are wild animals, and their well-being should always be the top priority.