Everyone loves having a pet. A little companion that will keep you company at home can do wonders for you. But while most people are happy with cats and dogs, some are looking for something more exotic, and badgers are one alternative people turn to for a unique pet.
Our striped friends are a sight to behold and can be excellent companions if trained. They are also easier to obtain than other animals since they are found in many parts of the US and Canada.
But is owning a badger everything it’s cracked up to be? Is it actually legal? Join us in Floofmania as we examine some things to consider, including the law, if you want to own a badger.
Can I Own An American Badger As A Pet?
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Owning badgers and other exotic animals, for that matter, is a somewhat controversial topic. There are a lot of ethical and legal issues that you have to consider before choosing to get a badger, especially where you live.
Some states and countries have strict laws about exotic pets, and you can find yourself in deep trouble if you get ahold of a pet badger without first understanding the law.
Other places are more relaxed and allow you to own American badgers under certain conditions. The best thing to do is to check the local laws before making any decisions to make sure you’re not breaking any rules.
Think Twice Before Getting A Pet American Badger
Owning a pet is a big responsibility, doubly so for exotic ones like American badgers. A lot can go wrong with owning one of these furballs, and you can get seriously hurt if you are not careful. Among the things that you should consider are the following:
- The legality of owning a badger.
- Did the badger come from the wild?
- Do you have other animals or children in the house that the badger might come into conflict with?
- The damage badgers can cause.
- Where you live.
The Legality of Owning a Badger
The law is the biggest hurdle you have to deal with if you want to own a badger. Many places outright ban the ownership of exotic or wild pets such as badgers. The government has plenty of reasons to forbid this, from protecting the environment to ensuring its citizen’s safety.
American badgers might just be a pet for you, but they can be a potential health hazard for the rest of the community. Badgers can transmit diseases or attack other people and animals, so governments try to regulate what animals they allow people to own.
Even the 7 US states that do allow people to own badgers as pets, also require you to register your pets to the state and get a permit.
If you try to buy a badger anyways, and you live in an area where they’re illegal, you could face charges of animal trafficking and even prison time.
Speaking of animal trafficking, even in places where owning American badgers is legal, you also have to consider where they come from. The simple truth is that smuggling and trafficking are common with animals, especially exotic pets.
If you plan on buying a badger, the person selling it might be a poacher, so do your research first. Some states require that you prove you obtained the badger legally before getting a permit.
In some states, the only way to own exotic animals like badgers is to have a special permit that shows you have permission from the government.
If you hope to get one of these, you shouldn’t hold your breath as many governments rarely give these to people and reserve them for professionals or rescue shelters.
American Badgers Can Cause A Lot of Damage
Aside from your loved ones, badgers can also do a lot of damage to property. Wild badgers are infamous for being pests to homeowners and farmers.
These mammals are known to dig up crops, damage irrigation systems, and fences, and even injure animals that slip into their holes, and those are just the things they do outside. Imagine the damage they can cause if you let them stay with you 24/7.
Even in suburban or rural houses, you can expect that badgers will tear up cushions or break furniture if they are left unattended. If you plan on buying badgers as pets, you should ensure you are ready for incidents like this. A lot can happen, so you should take precautions to prevent issues like that.
For that reason, states are reluctant to let people keep badgers around their houses. Not only can they cause damage to your own property, but they can damage other people’s property. Many governments don’t want to risk the potential damage to the environment or to other people’s property.
Why Aren’t American Badgers Legal Pets Everywhere?
Owning something as exotic as a badger is an idea that most countries and states frown upon. Each government and even some states have its reasons for not wanting people to own them as pets. Badgers are wild animals that can pose colossal safety and health risks to the local environment.
US States Where You Can Legally Own A Badger
The US is an interesting case because each state can decide its local laws and legislature, including what animals you can keep as a pet. Seven states allow you to legally own an American badger, provided you meet certain conditions.
- North Dakota
If you want to own an exotic pet in Florida, including an American badger, you’re in luck. All you need to do is file a permit with the local government. This registration is meant to explain what animals you want and what you will do with them.
The government will then review your case and determine whether or not to accept your application. Badgers are considered a potential threat to public safety, so the state needs to make sure you can control them.
After that inspection, the Floridian government will provide you with a license showing permission to own these animals.
In the case of Michigan, badgers are considered a game species by the state, and game animals such as badgers can be held in captivity. The only requirement is to apply for a permit from the state government. Once you get that permit, you can own badgers or other animals they want.
Missouri often allows hobbyists to own exotic pets, including badgers. All you need is a Wildlife Hobby Permit, which you can get from the local government. This permit will let them know what animals you are getting and what you plan on doing with them.
To own a badger in Nebraska, you must first file for a Captive Wildlife Permit.
This permit allows you to own some exotic animals, such as badgers, but while you can own them, there are limits to what you can do with them. The state is concerned about the illegal wildlife trade so this permit doesn’t cover your ability to buy and sell badgers.
For the state of North Dakota, their main concern with exotic pets are poaching and animal trafficking. The state is okay with you owning badgers as a pet, but they need to ensure that you are getting them through legitimate sources.
The state requires you to provide a license and import permit showing from where you expect to buy the badger before letting you purchase one.
Virginia is an interesting case because they officially have no restrictions on what animals you can own, the only caveat being that you need a state permit for them.
Virginia tries to limit the number of exotic pets through how many licenses they give. The state government is notorious for being extremely selective with who they provide these to, and only a few pet owners can get a permit because of the much red tape they have to go through.
Of all the states in the US, Wisconsin is the most accepting when it comes to wild animals, no permit requirements exist, and almost all animals are allowed as exotic pets.
The only restriction is a small list of completely banned animals, but aside from that, everything is free game. Badgers do not fall into that list so anyone can take one as a pet.
US States Where It’s Illegal To Own A Badger
The State of Kentucky bans the ownership of any animal it deems wild or inherently dangerous, including badgers. They also don’t allow you to own any animal listed as endangered by the state.
The interesting part about this law is that it only came into effect on July 13, 2005, meaning that if you already owned a badger before that, you should be allowed to keep it. So unless you own a very long-lived badger, you are out of luck.
Minnesota has laws regulating what animals can be kept as pets, banning all wild animals, including badgers. The only animals you can possess in the state are those designated in its laws.
In New Hampshire, animals fall into three categories, permitless pets, permit pets, and banned. Badgers fall into the latter category, so even if you have a permit, you will not be allowed to keep one in your home.
Utah has a law listing some animals that cannot be kept as pets under any circumstances, including badgers. Even having a registration certificate does not allow you to own one of these mammals.
What About Other States in the US?
There are only 11 states mentioned in this list because these are the only states that explicitly mention badgers in their laws. The other 39 states have their ideas about what animal is or isn’t allowed as pets. Often, these states don’t mention badgers because their lists are already quite long with other animals.
If you live in one of these states, it’s better to air caution and ask your local government first before trying anything.
Can I Keep An American Badger As A Pet In Canada?
As part of the BC Wildlife Act and Ontario Endangered Species Act, badgers are considered a protected species in Canada, which means they cannot be taken as pets. Doing so is a criminal offense that can land you in a lot of trouble.
The reason this is the case is due to Canada’s conservation efforts. To protect and repopulate the American badgers, they must keep them in the wild. Removing them from their habitat only creates more problems as it reduces the number of viable mates and further depopulates the area.
On some rare occasions, the Canadian government might allow some people to own badgers, though these are usually wildlife experts and still require a special license.
Can I Keep An American Badger As A Pet In The UK?
The UK has pretty strict laws when it comes to owning wild animals such as badgers. They are already quite restrictive about the local, badger population so you can imagine they are even less excited about American badgers being imported.
First of all, is the danger they pose to their citizens. American badgers, like their European counterparts, can be quite destructive. The last thing the UK government wants is a horde of these guys running around.
Second is that at least local badgers are familiar with the ecosystem. They have had centuries to find their role in the environment. With American badgers being strangers to this habitat, they can be potentially invasive as the animals and plants won’t know how to deal with them.
Can I Keep An American Badger As A Pet In Australia?
Australia has long had a reputation for having many invasive species within its borders. Many animals were historically imported and introduced into the ecosystem as pets and are now growing out of control. The Australian government has learned its lesson and enacted strict laws on whether animals are allowed into the country.
Unfortunately, badgers are among the species forbidden in the country. While there are some badger species native to Australia, these are mainly found in the islands or remote parts of the country, and the government is wary of bringing them into other regions.
They are even more strict with imported badgers. Even as pets, they don’t want to risk badgers upsetting the delicate balance of the Australian ecosystem.
What Are Good Alternatives To American Badgers As Pets?
If you have your heart set on an exotic pet, there are plenty of alternatives you can turn to aside from badgers. While they aren’t the same, they are still pretty close and can be just as enjoyable companions, perhaps even safer and less aggressive.
Ferrets are close relatives to American badgers and have been used as pets for thousands of years, making them more domesticated and easier to train. These animals are great since they are less aggressive and smaller, making them safer around the house.
Most states are okay with you owning ferrets as long as you don’t get them from the wild, though a few states may still make you obtain a permit. They are also energetic and playful; if you are lucky, your ferret might dance when it gets excited!
Another mustelid you can go for is the mongoose. Like ferrets, mongooses have also historically been pets for a long time. There are over 34 species of mongoose in the world, and they can be found almost anywhere from Asia to Africa.
These little critters are famous for fending off snakes, such as cobras but are generally harmless to humans. Depending on your state, the government might require you to get a permit to own one of these little guys.
Although raccoons have a reputation for stealing food and attacking pets, they also have one of being lovable furballs that love to cuddle. Once trained and domesticated, raccoons can be as loyal and loving as any pet out there.
Many raccoons can be found raiding trashcans around cities and have already become accustomed to urban environments to a certain degree.
States are divided on this issue; some outright refuse to have raccoons as pets, while others welcome it and only request that you get them their shots first to get a permit.
Minks are another safe option instead of badgers. Not only do most state governments allow them, but they are smaller and much more manageable than badgers. While they can be aggressive toward small animals and attack humans out of fear, they can be trained and loyal companions once they get used to you.
Some minks are so well-trained that they don’t even need to be walked on a leash.
Author: Quade Ong
Hello there, my name is Quade. I have been a writer for three years but an animal lover for over two decades. I grew up in one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, which has given me the blessing of seeing all sorts of beautiful animals. Now I strive to learn not just about the animals I am from, but those all over the world!