What Pets You Can and Can't Have at Home

In the wake of a chimpanzee attack in Stamford that has left a woman in critical condition, there is interest in what animals you can and cannot have as pets in Connecticut.

Connecticut is one of 10 states with a partial ban on private ownership of exotic animals.

Permits are required for people o have animals, including live fish, wild birds, wild mammals, reptile, amphibian or invertebrates.  

State law bans people from keeping primates weighing more than 50 pounds as pets and requires owners of exotic pets to apply for a permit.

The law was changed shortly after Travis led police on a chase in Stamford in 2003.

The DEP did not seize Travis because he'd been with Herold for years, police said.

No one has applied to own a chimpanzee as a pet since the new law took effect in 2004, according to the DEP.

Congress is reviewing the Captive Primate Safety Act, which was introduced on Jan. 6. It adds monkeys, great apes and lemurs to the federal definition of “prohibited wildlife species.”

On Feb. 4, that bill went to the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife.

Potentially dangerous animals include:

Animals in the Felidae family:

  • Lion
  • Leopard
  • Cheetah
  • Jaguar
  • Ocelot
  • Jaguarundi cat
  • Puma
  • Lynx
  • Bobcat

Animals in the Canidae family:

  • Wolf
  • Coyote

Animals in the Ursidae family:

  • Black bear
  • Grizzly bear
  • Brown bear


  • Venomous reptiles
  • Alligators
  • Crocodiles

 Permits are not required if you qualify as a zoo or nature center.

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