Covering the Land of Lincoln

Is it legal to own a capybara in Illinois?

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Capybaras make look adorable, but do they make good pets? And are they legal to own in Illinois?

Capybaras are rodents, native to South Africa, which look similar to guinea pigs. They are generally considered docile and often allow humans to pet or hand-feed them.

However, capybaras can carry ticks, lice and other parasites so contact with the furry creatures is generally discouraged.

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The exotic animals are also considered very sensitive, and suffer extreme “separation anxiety” and are generally kept in pairs. They also have a lot of health requirements which make their upkeep cost prohibitive for zoos.

Only Arizona, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, Washington, North Carolina, and Tennessee allow people to keep capybaras as pets.

It is illegal to have a capybara as a pet in Illinois.

Illinois law gives the Department of Natural Resources the power to “prohibit or limit the importation, possession, release into the wild, take, commercialization of take, sale, and propagation of wild mammals, wild birds, and feral livestock that are not defined as protected species in Section 2.2 of this Act, to reduce risks of communicable diseases, nuisances, and damages to wild or domestic species, agricultural crops, property, and environment.”

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