A close relative of hamsters, gerbils are a pretty widely accepted — and even beloved — rodent pet. These cute little furry friends are entertaining to watch, and they can even be quite lovable. And who doesn’t love watching gerbils hit their exercise wheel or travel the length of a tube jungle?
Well, if you live in certain states, you won’t ever get to experience life as a gerbil parent. Both California and Hawaii have banned gerbils, making them illegal to own as pets.
Why are gerbils so threatening or dangerous? Well, these cuddly little rodents love warm climates. And in both California and Hawaii, there’s a real risk that gerbils that escape into the wild can thrive in the states’ natural environments. Gerbils could create massive colonies, disrupt endemic flora and fauna, and develop diseases that may be transmitted to humans.
Turtles are beloved childhood pets for many people. And while there are many different types of turtles, the most popular and widely purchased kind is the red-eared slider. Also known as a water turtle, the red-eared slider is a petite little turtle who loves to swim. They can thrive in water-filled tanks, and they’re a lot of fun to watch.
But the FDA doesn’t exactly consider the red-eared slider or water turtle a great pet to have at home. In fact, it’s been against keeping this particular turtle as a pet since 1975. The red-eared slider can spread salmonella — turtles are natural bacteria carriers, and they commonly carry bacteria right on their shells.
So, the water turtle is now banned in nearly every state unless a turtle is bigger than 4 inches in size. And Florida, Tennessee, and Oregon have completely banned these turtles regardless of their size.
Snakes may not be among the cutest or cuddliest pets. But there are plenty of people who absolutely love snakes — they can be interesting and engaging pets to keep, though you’ll have to be comfortable with their unique dietary needs.
And if you’ve ever been around a snake, you may understand why this popular reptile is a banned pet. Certain species of snake are banned throughout the U.S., and the laws vary from state to state. Burmese pythons, anacondas, and other venomous snakes in particular are among those banned.
In addition to specific U.S. states like Florida and Hawaii, where pet snakes are seriously problematic, other countries have pet snake bans. New Zealand and Norway have total bans, and countries like Australia will only allow snakes with a special permit.