Major Changes to Ma...
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Major Changes to Maine's Animal Laws

Vibrant Skies
Active Member

In the past couple days, I took an in-depth look into Maine’s animal laws because my boyfriend is from Maine and we’ll probably get married in the next few years. When we do, we’ll live in either Maine or New Hampshire (where I’m from.) Good thing I looked into Maine’s exotic animal laws, because they have changed SO MUCH from the last time the Maine State Laws topic here was updated.

Some of the laws are very confusing and contradictory. For example, “All Species in Family Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)” are listed as Class 1 Restricted Species (WHAAAAAT?!?! 😱 ) but they are listed on the Unrestricted List as well. All species in Subfamily Phasianinae (pheasants and peafowl), as well as guineafowl, are unrestricted.

All Species in Family Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Swans) are also Class 1 Restricted Species. No, they are not also on the Unrestricted Species List. I kid you not. I was shocked to read this because New Hampshire’s exotic bird laws are the opposite (you can own a vast majority of non-native birds, particularly waterbirds, without a permit.)

In 2018, Maine’s entire laws regarding animal ownership were restructured. The legislation at the top of this page, to be specific.

(Don’t worry if your internet security claims this page is not secure. I didn’t get any viruses, malware, spyware, etc. from opening it.)


What I took away from this, and additional research on

(the TL;DR version: If you’re someone like me who wants to own birds, DO NOT move to Maine. Also don’t move to Maine if you are interested in exotic mammals.)

All pet birds including federally regulated birds, including finches and parrots brought into this state, must be obtained from companies that are registered with the Maine Department of Agriculture. Game birds and outdoor birds have the same requirements. Many, even commonly owned species, require health certificates.

(This especially galls me, since I can’t think of another state, except maybe Hawaii, that has such strict importation/possession laws for birds.)

More specific information:

Prohibited species:

Mute swans, monk parakeet


It is illegal to import any freshwater fish into the state of Maine without a permit from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Many small species that are commonly kept as pets are exempt from this law and are on the Unrestricted Species List.


-You can keep wolfdogs if they are tattooed or microchipped to identify them as such. You need a permit for captive wildlife, but the permit doesn’t sound difficult to acquire and presumably can be acquired by civilians.

More information about the permit:


-Savannahs that are F4 or higher are exempt from the Restricted Species lists and do not need a permit for captive wildlife. I am unsure about other hybrid cats, even relatively common breeds like Bengals.


-Apparently you can own minks if they are two or more generations removed from wild minks, but the law is unclear about whether they can be owned as pets or purely for agricultural purposes. To add to the confusion, minks are also listed as a Category 1 Restricted Species along with other mustelids.


-Apparently you can own cervids, but the law is unclear about whether they can be owned as pets or purely for agricultural purposes. Deer (presumably white-tailed deer, the only native species) and moose cannot be kept, even with a permit for captive wildlife.

I’ve seen a few people in Maine who own reindeer, so the law may vary by species. Cervids are also listed as a Category 1 Restricted Species.


-Foxes are a Category 1 Restricted Species, along with other non-domestic canids (excluding wolfdogs.) You also cannot own a fox unless you have a wildlife exhibition permit, so effectively they are not legal as pets in Maine. (This didn’t use to be the case, and I was VERY disappointed to read about this change.)

To put this into perspective, obtaining a permit for a Category 1 Restricted Species involves over 1,000 hours of experience working with the animal or a very similar species, and it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the permit.


-You need a Category 2 Restricted Species permit to own llamas or camels (yes, even though llamas are unambiguously domestic animals.) This requires 100 or more hours of experience working with the animal or a very similar species. Granted, it would be far easier to find llamas to work with than many other “Restricted Species.”


-You need a Category 2 Restricted Species permit to own iguanas and some other reptiles that are relatively common as pets.


Category 2 Restricted Species:

You can import these species for possession.

An applicant for a permit pertaining to a Category 2 Restricted Species must submit documentation to verify a minimum of one year of practical husbandry or a minimum of 100 hours of experience, training or apprenticeship in the care, feeding, handling and husbandry of the species to be possessed or of another species that is substantially similar to the species to be possessed in size, characteristics, care and nutritional requirements. A Bachelor of Science or higher degree in a relevant biological science, obtained at an accredited institution of higher learning, may be substituted for 50 hours of experience or apprenticeship.


Category 1 Restricted Species:

You must possess a wildlife exhibition permit for these species. You cannot import them for possession.


Wildlife in Captivity Laws:


Unrestricted Species List:


More useful links I mined up on (you may find these specific laws useful)

Contact information for asking about specific species:

Topic starter Posted : July 18, 2020 12:08 am
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