In What States Can You Privately Own a Siberian Tiger?


A Siberian tiger, or more properly an Amur tiger, is an endangered species of tiger that is native to northern Russia. It is the largest and most powerful of the tiger species, and it is widely kept in captivity by zoos and circuses in the United States. Due to lax laws regarding ownership of exotic pets, private individuals are allowed to keep Siberian tigers in certain states. Some states do require a license for such pets.

States With No Restrictions

  • Alabama, Nevada, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and South Carolina do not in any way restrict ownership of large felines, including the Siberian Tiger.

States that Require a License

  • Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri (also requires registration of tigers with local police), Montana, North Dakota (also requires veterinary certificate), Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island (clear regulations for licensing require proof of adequate facilities and proper knowledge), South Dakota and Texas allow ownership of Siberian Tigers with proper state permits. These permits are available from state wildlife departments.

States With Specific Rules

  • In Michigan, it is legal to continue to own a Siberian tiger that was acquired before July 7, 2000, and in Minnesota the cutoff is January 1, 2005. A Siberian tiger acquired in Louisiana before August 15, 2006 may be kept so long as the owner obtains a permit, sterilizes the tiger and conforms with enclosure, feeding, care and insurance laws. In North Carolina, there is no state law but a county or city may ban the ownership of Siberian tigers. Ohio regulations call for an entry permit, veterinary inspection and health certificate for Siberian tigers brought in from outside the state but there is no regulation against keeping tigers in the state.

Florida and Nebraska Laws

  • In Florida, it is illegal to possess a Siberian tiger that has been acquired after August 1, 1980. In Nebraska, the cutoff is March 1, 1986. Since the lifespan of a Siberian tiger in captivity is about 15 years, there are no more legal Siberian tigers in private possession in either Florida or Nebraska as of this writing.


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