Although groundhogs have sharp teeth that can chomp through just about anything, these creatures are pretty docile and super cute to look at. Especially in the springtime when you can see groundhog babies, you could die from the cuteness of these little creatures.
Even though groundhogs are not particularly dangerous, it is still illegal to own groundhogs in most areas. groundhogs are not domesticated and are wild instead. In areas where groundhogs are wild, it is illegal to own wild animals, including groundhogs.
To learn more about whether or not you can own a groundhog in your area, keep reading. This article provides you with an overview of where it is legal to own a groundhog and where it is not. We also provide you with some advice for finding out if owning a groundhog is legal in your area.
Is It Legal To Keep A Groundhog In Captivity?
Table of Contents
- 1 Is It Legal To Keep A Groundhog In Captivity?
- 2 Why Isn’t It Legal Everywhere?
- 3 Can I Legally Own a Groundhog In My State or Country?
- 4 In Which US States Can I Own A Groundhog?
- 5 In Which US States Is It Illegal To Own A Groundhog?
- 6 Can I Legally Own A Groundhog In Canada?
- 7 Can I Legally Own A Groundhog In Europe?
- 8 Can I Legally Own A Groundhog In Australia?
- 9 How Can I Find Out If I Can Own a Groundhog in My Area?
Whether or not it is legal to keep a groundhog in captivity ultimately depends on where you live. You will have to research your country’s, state’s, and city’s laws to determine if you could keep a groundhog in captivity as a pet in your area.
More than likely, it is not legal to own a groundhog as a pet. Throughout most of the United States, it is illegal to own a wild animal as a pet and keep it in captivity unless you have a specialized permit. Though some states allow the ownership of groundhogs, most do not.
Why Isn’t It Legal Everywhere?
Even though groundhogs are not known to be dangerous to humans or most other creatures, they are wild at heart. Because these animals are wild, they do not take to captivity well. It is illegal to own a groundhog and keep it in captivity as a result.
Whenever a groundhog is kept in captivity, it is completely reliant on the human to take care of it. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people do not know or care to know everything that groundhogs require in order to have a happy and healthy life, and groundhogs don’t acclimate to humans like dogs or cats.
What this means is that wild animals that are kept in captivity typically do not have the life they need or want. Instead, they are forced to live alongside humans, all while being neglected, even if the human has the best intentions.
Can I Legally Own a Groundhog In My State or Country?
In most locations, it is not legal to own a groundhog in your state or country. Owning a groundhog may be prohibited due to laws concerning wild animals or importation.
If you live in an area where groundhogs are native, such as North America and certain parts of Europe, the ownership of groundhogs is often prohibited because there are laws concerning wild animal ownership. In most of these locations, it is illegal to own a wild animal, and a groundhog counts as a wild animal.
Although the groundhog is common in many areas, it isn’t native everywhere. If you live in an area where groundhogs are not native, there may be importation laws to prevent the spread of nonnative animals. These laws are put in place to protect the natural wildlife of your area.
All that being said, there are some locations that allow you to own a groundhog as a pet. It’s important that you look up the laws for your country, state, and city or county since there may be laws concerning ownership at all levels.
In Which US States Can I Own A Groundhog?
Even though America has relatively loose animal ownership laws, it is illegal to own groundhogs in most US states. In most states and counties, it is illegal to own a wild animal as a pet and keep it in captivity. Because a groundhog counts as a wild animal, you cannot own one.
Even so, there are a few states that allow the ownership of groundhogs. Here is a look at the different states that allow you to own a groundhog.
- New Mexico
- Connecticut (with permit)
- Delaware (with permit)
- DC (with permit)
- Florida (with permit)
- Illinois (with permit)
- Indiana (with permit)
- Missouri (with permit)
- Michigan (with permit)
- Mississippi (with permit)
- Montana (with permit)
- Nebraska (with permit)
- North Dakota (with permit)
- Ohio (with permit)
- Oklahoma (with permit)
- Oregon (with permit)
- Pennsylvania (with permit)
- Rhode Island (with permit)
- Tennessee (with permit)
- Virginia (with permit)
- West Virginia (with permit)
- Wyoming (with permit)
Before you get excited about this long list of states, states where groundhogs are allowed with permits have specific requirements. Often, these permits are only given out with breeding purposes in mind or for hunting purposes. So, the vast majority of people who want a groundhog will not qualify for a permit.
Even if you live in a state where it is legal to own a groundhog, you still have to check with your local ordinances. Although groundhogs may be legal at the state level, your county may have laws prohibiting ownership. So, it’s important to look at your local laws to determine if you can own a groundhog.
In Which US States Is It Illegal To Own A Groundhog?
There are many states where it is illegal to own a Groundhog. Groundhogs are sometimes illegal because they are considered nuisance animals or because they are considered wild animals. Here’s a list of the states where it is outright illegal to own a groundhog.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- South Dakota
If you live in a state where it is illegal to own a groundhog, your local ordinances won’t change anything. If groundhogs are banned at the state level, they will be banned at the county level as well. So, anyone who lives in the states above cannot own a groundhog.
Can I Legally Own A Groundhog In Canada?
It is currently illegal to own a groundhog in Canada. By law, you are not allowed to keep any wild animal in captivity throughout Canada. Because groundhog counts as a wild animal, you are not allowed to own one as a pet in any of the Canadian states.
Ultimately, it comes down to the definition of a domesticated or wild animal. Under most Canadian laws, you can only own pets that have been domesticated to live alongside humans or be used for human purposes. Wild animals, such as the groundhog, should be left in the wild and not owned as a pet.
Can I Legally Own A Groundhog In Europe?
Europe is known for having more progressive laws concerning animals and pet ownership. Surprisingly, there aren’t many laws in place that prohibit owning a groundhog as a pet. Because groundhogs are not endangered, many countries in Europe do not have laws prohibiting their ownership outright.
Can I Legally Own a Groundhog in the UK?
In the UK, it is legal to own a groundhog as long as you follow the Animal Welfare Act of 2006. Under this law, you have to properly provide the right environment and nutrition for the groundhog and protect the creature from any pain and suffering. You do not need a wild animal license either because the groundhog does not fall under the Dangerous Wild Animal Act.
First and foremost, make sure that you have the right environment setup for your groundhog. It will need a lot of space to roam. Then, make sure to provide it with a healthy diet so it can maintain a healthy weight. Check to see if there is an exotic veterinarian in your area that can provide health care for your groundhog too.
Can I Legally Own a Groundhog in France?
Unfortunately, it is unclear if it is legal to own a groundhog in France. There do not seem to be any outright laws that prohibit owning the groundhog as a pet. In fact, there are certain species of groundhogs that are native to the Alps in France, and they’re not endangered.
Although France does not have specific laws about owning groundhogs, they have pretty specific laws about how you are supposed to treat your pets. Much like England, France has specific laws in place in order to protect pets in the nation.
Can I Legally Own a Groundhog in Germany?
Much like in France, there are no specific laws about groundhogs and owning them. Because groundhogs are not considered an endangered species, Germany does not have any specific laws regarding groundhog ownership.
Germany has more lenient importation laws than the UK and France, though. If you want to import a groundhog, it’s best to check with the state you will be staying in about their individual laws.
Can I Legally Own A Groundhog In Australia?
No. You cannot legally own a groundhog in Australia. Groundhogs are native to North America, not Australia. Australia has strict laws regarding the importation of unique and exotic pets. Groundhogs do not fit the bill for being exotic pets worthy of importation.
According to the Biosecurity Import Condition System, only certain animals are allowed to be imported to Australia. As of 2022, the only vertebrates approved for importation as pets are dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, and some species of birds. A groundhog counts as a vertebrate, but it is clearly missing from this list, showing that it is not legal to own a groundhog in Australia.
Needless to say, it is illegal to own a groundhog in Australia. Groundhogs are not native to the area, which means you would have to illegally import them into the country, which is against the law.
How Can I Find Out If I Can Own a Groundhog in My Area?
If you want to know whether or not you are allowed to own a groundhog in your area, it’s best to contact your county and state government. Talk to wildlife representatives for your area to get a quick answer about the legality of owning a groundhog.
Even though you can technically read laws about owning groundhogs in your state, most states have confusing and hard-to-find laws concerning exotic pet ownership. What this means is that you may be searching a long time before you find out if owning a groundhog is legal in your area.
That is why it is best to just call a representative and ask the question directly. They should know exactly what animals are legal in your area. To save some time, call the county representatives first. If your county allows it, then your state allows it. If your county does not allow it, it doesn’t matter if your state allows it.
Although you may be tempted to get a groundhog as a pet, even if your state prohibits it, follow the law. Especially when you are dealing with an animal as large and sensitive as a groundhog, it’s best to just follow the law and allow groundhogs to live peacefully in the wild.