Where are Degus Legal

While we will do our very best to maintain this page to reflect the most current information we can find, when it comes to exotic animal rules and regulations you should always practice due diligence and contact your local or state authorities before making any decisions about owning or purchasing degus.

Don’t know who to call to find out if degus are legal in your home state or city? The name of the appropriate department or the department to which exotic animal legality falls changes from state to state here are some examples:

  • Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Department of Fish and Game
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Environmental Management

Where are Degus Legal / Illegal in the United States

State Status Details & Source
American Samoa
California Illegal ca.gov – California Department of Fish and Game
Colorado Legal Permit may be required
state.co.us – Colorado Division of Wildlife
Degus are not listed on any permit exempt or banned exotic list which leads us to believe they are legal with permit. Confirm with your local authorities.
Delaware Legal Exempt from Exotic Permits

delaware.gov – Delaware Department of Agriculture

District of Columbia
Georgia Illegal state.ga.us – Georgia Department of Agriculture
Also georgiawildlife.com
Maine Legal No Permit Needed (unrestricted species)
maine.gov – Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Massachusetts Legal No Permit Needed
mass.gov – Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife
Montana Legal No Permit Needed (noncontrolled species)
mt.gov – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Nebraska Legal state.ne.us (PDF) – Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Northern Marianas Islands
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island Legal No Permit Necessary

dem.ri.gov (PDF) Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management

South Carolina
South Dakota
Vermont Legal VTFishandWildlife.com (PDF) – Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Degus marked as unrestricted in 2007 list
Virgin Islands
West Virginia

A special thanks to Google’s Uncle Sam search. Without it my research was tedious and it was difficult to filter official government sites and responses from other websites and opinions.


  1. D Larson
    August 26th

    Here are some responses I received asking about the legality of Degus:

    Hawaii: Not legal

    Pennsylvania: Not legal unless bred by a PA licensed breeder (There are NONE for Degus). Warning: In PA animals found will be seized and destroyed as per F&W.

    NY Upstate: Legal

    Utah: Not legal

    Missouri: Legal

    Kentucky: Legal to own (Sales restricted in Louisville)

    Idaho: Not legal w/o permit (email below from F&W)
    I was referred to your query by Idaho Department of Ag. In Idaho Dept Ag administrative rules, degu are considered to be deleterious exotic animals and cannot be imported or possessed in Idaho without a permit by the Idaho Department of Agriculture. You will have to contact the deptment of agriculture, likely Dr. Lawrence, whom I cc on this email to get into the process for application to deal with these animals.
    Mark Drew
    Idaho dept Fish and Game

  2. Lucas Adam
    December 4th

    Degus are happily allowed in Kansas. I’ve bought them from petstores, and i see them quite a bit.

  3. Lucas Adam
    December 4th

    Sorry a little more info for that here: Kansas Administrative Regulation 115-20-3 begins these rules and regulations governing exotic animal laws in Kansas. This regulation states that exotic animals can be legally possessed, sold, imported, bought or for sale in the state of Kansas as long as the exotic animal in question was legally purchased, raised, captured or exported, in other words, as long as the person who has possession of this exotic animal acquired it legally. This regulation also continues on to state that there is no limit to the number or time that one may possess exotic animals in Kansas, that exotic animals must be under control and confined at all times and are to never be released into the waters or onto the land in the state of Kansas.

  4. Steven
    July 24th

    Just a quick bit for those on the other side of the pond, Degus are legal in the United Kingdom wherever you live. More info on Deguworld

  5. DLarson
    February 13th

    New states to report…

    New Mexico – No license to own – LEGAL, only import permit if brought in from outside state. Must have Vet Cert within 30 days to get import permit.

    Arizona – LIMITED LEGAL with free permit under certain circumstances. You have to be sincere, experienced and in the best interest of the animals, but if worded properly it’s do-able. Here is the exact rule and link:

    Link: http://www.azgfd.gov/eservices/special_licenses/wildlife_holding.shtml

    Brief Description – A wildlife holding license shall authorize an individual to possess, transport, import, display for educational purposes, photograph for commercial purposes, purchase, propagate, export, give away, or euthanize either restricted live wildlife or live wildlife lawfully held under a hunting or fishing license for any of the following purposes: advancement of science, wildlife management, or promotion of public health or welfare; Education: photograph for a commercial purpose live wildlife that is lawfully possessed; to give humane treatment to restricted live wildlife that has been abandoned or permanently disabled; or to lawfully possess restricted live wildlife that was possessed under another special license, and the primary purpose for that special license no longer exists.

  6. DLarson
    February 13th

    Indiana – LEGAL – NO permit needed

    Florida – LEGAL – No permit needed

    Washington State – LEGAL – Import permit only

    Ohio – LEGAL? – No details

    Texas – LEGAL? – No detalis

    The whole import permit thing is moot unless you tell them they are imported.

    BEST Site for Degu Care: http://www.degutopia.co.uk/

  7. Blue
    August 8th

    Degu are illegal to own in West Virginia and Pennsylvania without a special license. Legal in Ohio but can only be sold via licensed breeders. As a Pittsburgher, the closest breeder I have found is in Akron, Akron Rattery.

  8. Was curious about owning a pet degu in the United Kingdom and then taking it with us back to America when we move back next year. We’re US military stationed overseas and are bringing back 2 dogs and I know the process for that, but other than dogs/cats I have no idea how it works.

  9. DLarson
    September 15th

    Chan, Unless you are cruising on a ship the Degus will have to fly in the cargo hold where conditions are harsh. It is not in the best interest of any animal to fly in the cargo hold – especially on an international flight. Degus have sensitive ears and would be stressed out beyond belief. Wait until you return to adopt some… It’s not worth the import hassle either!

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    January 13th

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  13. The best site for degu care is http://www.degus-international.org where research has developed a Species Appropriate Natural and Balanced diet for degus. Questions are answered and guidelines for cage size are found (CARA: Cumulative Available Running Area).

  14. Tabitha Colette
    May 27th

    In NH, they are legal to own but i have heard that pet stores did stop selling them. I have looked on the nh wildlife website and it said they are legal with no permit needed. I love my degu and he has an amazing personality i couldnt imagine these little guys being put to sleep or anything terrible ! any questions please email me TabithaColette@live.com I would be happy to answer any of your questions!

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  16. Maggie
    August 16th

    In Oregon, they’re legal without a permit.
    Source: http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_600/oar_635/635_056.html

  17. dlarson
    August 21st

    Update on Florida – You now need a permit to own. Easy application through F&W, NO fee (free) – they just want to know how they are being cared for and housed. This came about b/c of the the herp owners who let exotice loose in the glades. It is a class III permit: http://myfwc.com/license/captive-wildlife/

  18. dlarson
    August 21st

    I have several sets of females for adoption to NON BREEDERS (Pets Only). Can deliver on East Coast. dlarson.mailbox@gmail.com

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  20. Emily
    March 31st

    In CT: legal without permit
    (found under wild mammals)

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  31. dlarson
    October 15th

    As per Fish and Wildlife Degus are LEGAL in Montana.

    For anyone that wants the BEST info on Degus go to http://www.degutopia.co.uk/

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