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All About Captive Wildlife

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Published on: Aug. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 29, 2010

to consider when purchasing an animal is being prepared to care for that animal.

In Missouri, the Department of Conservation has six basic types of permits to hold captive wildlife. It is important to note that any wildlife held under these permits may not come from the wild.

The seven types of permits for holding wildlife include the Class I breeder permit, the Class II breeder permit, hobby permit, licensed shooting area permit, field trial permit, dog training permit and the hound running area permit. To obtain a permit, you must first figure out what you are going to buy and what you intend to do with it. Once you have made a decision, there is an application process to complete. Working closely with your local conservation agent is a must (see page 1 for a list of regional office phone numbers to contact an agent near you). They will help you determine what permit you will need, what cages are necessary, and if testing is required to obtain a permit.

Wildlife under permit in Missouri is broken down into two categories, Class I and Class II. Class I wildlife includes bullfrogs, green frogs and birds (including ring-necked pheasants and gray partridges) that are native to the continental United States. Also included under the Class I permit are mammals (with the exception of bison, mountain lions, wolves and black bears or any hybrid of these species), nonvenomous reptiles, and amphibians native to Missouri. Elk that are held apart from other species are defined as livestock and are exempt from MDC permit requirements.

Class II animals also include the five poisonous snakes of Missouri: the pygmy rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake, massasauga rattlesnake, copperhead and cottonmouth. Class II wildlife includes black bear, mountain lions, wolves, or any of their hybrids. When someone decides to purchase any of these Class II animals, they must first apply for the permit and take a written test.

A permit will only be granted after a passing score of 80 percent has been obtained and the required cages are inspected. This ensures that the applicant has studied the animal that is going to be purchased and has a good idea of what is needed to take care of that animal’s specific needs.

Cities, towns and counties can establish further restrictions on Class II animal ownership. In the case where prohibitions apply, no permits will be issued. If you are thinking of purchasing one of

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