Are Guinea Pigs Illegal In California

Are Guinea Pigs Illegal In California? [ You’ll Be Surprised! ]

California is a beautiful state to live or stay in for vacations. But as beautiful as this state is, it has many restrictive laws on the possession of pets. If you own a guinea pig and would love to take her with you to CA, you might be wondering: Is it legal to take it with you? Are guinea pigs illegal in California?

Domestic guinea pigs are legal in California. However, wild guinea pigs are not.

Many species of the order Rodentia are restricted pets. Wild guinea pigs are one of them. However, domesticated guinea pigs are not illegal in California. So, unless your guinea pig is a wild species, you can lawfully possess your pet in the golden state.

Let’s find out some of the common pets that are illegal and legal in CA.

What Animals Are Illegal In California?

California Department of Fish and Wildlife explains that you can’t keep some restricted animals as pets because they are a threat to the health of its citizens. One of those animals is hedgehogs. As cute as they are, hedgehogs are prohibited in the golden state.

Likewise, it is unlawful to own a ferret in the golden city. Even though the US annually celebrates 2nd April as her national Ferrets day, California and Hawaii isolate themselves from such celebration. The Californian government policy regards ferrets as a threat to the environment. The CA government fears that if they‘ll allow ferrets, they will colonize very fast while being a significant risk to California’s rare native animals and birds.

Monkeys are legal in Nevada, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Kansas but are illegal in the golden state. They are considered wild animals, and you cannot import or keep them unless you have a permit.

Other animals that are illegal in CA are squirrels, gerbils, tigers, wolf-dog hybrids, raccoons, African clawed frogs, chimpanzees, quaker parrots, caimans, piranhas, etc. See the Restricted Species Law and Regulation for animals that are illegal in California.

Illegal pets in CA listed:

  • Monkeys
  • Ferrets
  • Squirrels
  • Gerbils
  • Tigers
  • Raccoons
  • Minks
  • Weasels

I suggest you further read my article where I write about illegal pets in Hawaii

Guinea Pig

List Of Legal Pets In California

Fortunately, CA state rules permit some pets. However, you must buy the pet from a licensed pet owner or a pet shop. Here is a list of legal pets in California.


Only domesticated dog breeds are legal in the golden state. That means you can’t possess a wolf or wolf-dog hybrid.


Cats of the Felis cactus species and their hybrids are legal in Sunny Cal.  Some domestic cat breeds are; Bengal, Birman, Sphynx, Siamese, Persian, Ragdollmanx, etc.

Guinea pigs

As earlier mentioned, only wild guinea pigs are illegal in California. Domesticated guinea pigs, otherwise called Cavia Porcellus, are legal in the golden state.

Rabbits and Hares

The golden state’s pet law recognizes Domesticated rabbits and hares as pets. Therefore, you can legally import, transfer, or possess them within the jurisdiction of CA.

Golden Hamster

The domesticated breeds of golden hamsters are allowed as pets in CA. The Dwarf Hamster is also legal in the golden state. The reason for allowing the golden hamster while not allowing the common hamster is the golden hamster is usually a more domestic animal.


Rats are illegal in Alberta and almost every home there has a rat trap. However, the golden state protects domesticated races of rats and recognizes them as legal.

What Exotic Animals Are Legal In California

What Exotic Animals Are Legal In California?

California’s Pet laws are very restrictive. However, you will be surprised to know her regulation legalizes the ownership of some exotic animals. These animals are usually regarded as wild animals in other states.

For instance, Cheetahs are legal in California. Shocking, isn’t it? In most countries, cheetahs are part of the wildlife and are only available in the Zoo. Yet in the golden state, you don’t need a permit to own a cheetah as a pet.

But it gets even better. You can legally own a Zebra in the golden state without a permit. Weird, isn’t it? Other exotic animals that are legal in California are lesser pandas, giant pandas, tarantulas, ball pythons, chinchillas, monitor lizards, American Bisons, etc.

The good news is: if you own any of these animals, you can keep or import them to the golden state. Also, you can have one or more of them as pets in CA.

California Exotic Pet Laws

The regulations on restricted pets are contained in Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations. Section 671 comprehensively lists the animals that are restricted according to their class. This section also specifies that possession of restricted pets is legal under a permit.

If you breach this law, you either commit a civil offense or a crime. If the offense is civil, you will pay a fine of $500 to $10,000. But if the nature of the infringement is criminal, that makes you guilty of a misdemeanor. Then, the penalty is either the payment of a fine of $1,000 or a sentence of 6 months in county jail.

How Do You Get a Prohibited Animal Permit in California?

In California, the Department of Fish and Game is responsible for the issuance of a permit to possess, transfer or import prohibited animals. The process of getting a prohibited animal permit is specified in Title 14, section 671.1 of the California Regulation Code.

To be qualified for a permit, you must be above the age of 18. Also, you must have at least two years of work experience nurturing the kind of animal in question. Here are the steps to get a permit in California:

  1. Apply for a permit from the Department of Fish and Game.
  2. Attach with the application documents such as your resume stating your qualification, an inventory kept on the animal, a letter of recommendation from the owner of an animal facility you worked at, your breeding plan for the animal, and a USDA license.
  3. Pay the fees for application and inspection.
  4. Apply the address on the application.

Related Questions

Why Are Hedgehogs Illegal in California?

Hedgehogs are illegal in California because the government recognizes them as pests that are hazardous to public health. Hedgehogs have been associated with diseases such as salmonella, herpesvirus, and ringworm.

Transmission of these diseases occurs after people come in contact with the bodies or feces of infected Hedgehogs. Also, they can transmit these diseases to native wildlife. Therefore, the government recognizes them as restricted wild animals in CA.

Are Finger Monkeys Legal in California?

No, finger monkeys are not legal in California. The California Code of Regulation prohibits the possession, importation, or transfer of primates in the golden city. Although finger monkeys are a small species of primates, they are part of the restricted wildlife in CA.

Therefore, you can’t keep them as pets. So, unless you have a permit granted by the Department of Fish and Game, you cannot own a finger monkey in California.

Are Axolotls legal in California?

Axolotls like the mole salamander belong to the family Ambystomatidae. They are illegal in the golden state because they are dangerous to native wildlife in CA. For instance, they are carriers of the Ambystoma tigrinum virus which is deadly to reptiles, fishes, and amphibians.

Californians are not allowed to own them as pets. Ownership of Axotols in CA is unlawful. Likewise, immigrants are not permitted to import them into the golden state.

Why Are Ferrets Illegal In California?

The Californian Department of Fish and Wildlife explains that ferrets are a threat to wildlife, public health, and safety. Therefore, they are illegal in the golden state. On the contrary, Ferrets are legal in many states in the Us.


In fact, 2nd April is celebrated annually as the National Ferrets day in the US. However, the Californian government is concerned with containing the mass reproduction of ferrets in the state.

Why Are Hamsters Illegal In California

Why Are Hamsters Illegal In California?

The CA government fears that some will escape into the wild and colonize while causing damage to the plants in the great nature reserves in California.

It’s kind of interesting to think that Nevada which is abated to California allows Hamsters and Ferrets and there is no real border between the two. Makes you think, no?

Final Thoughts

If you came to this page trying to find out if you can take your guinea pig with you to CA, so yes you can take your guinea pig to CA. Domesticated Guinea pigs are legal in California. Apparently, if you have one as a pet, it’s most likely domesticated.

So, if you have a vacation, you can take your pet along with you to the golden city. However, never take a wild guinea pig to CA! Also, ferrets and hedgehogs are illegal in CA, and you shouldn’t take them with you.

Fortunately, owners of exotic pets such as cheetahs, zebras, chinchillas, etc, are free to groom their pets in CA. Remember to obtain your permit from the Department of Food and Games to keep restricted pets. However, the department wouldn’t issue a permit to an individual who wants to keep the exotic animals at home.

If you own a Zoo, there is a high possibility you would be granted a permit. What is important is to meet the qualification for application. However, the Department of Fish and Game has the discretion to approve or deny your application.

I suggest you either way to check with the Department Of Fish And Game before you take your pet with you to the golden state.

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