Are Bearded Dragons Legal in Maryland?

If you’re a reptile enthusiast considering getting a bearded dragon as a pet, it’s important to understand the laws and regulations regarding their ownership. Each state has its own set of rules governing exotic animal possession to ensure both public safety and the welfare of the animals themselves. In this blog post, we’ll explore whether bearded dragons are legal in Maryland.

Maryland, like many other states, regulates the ownership of exotic pets through legislation aimed at protecting native wildlife and preventing potential harm caused by certain species. The relevant law pertaining to reptiles is found under Title 10 (Natural Resources), Subtitle 6 (Wildlife Management) of the Maryland Code.

In accordance with Section 10-621(a)(1) of the code, it is unlawful for individuals within Maryland to possess any live member of “Class I Wildlife” without obtaining proper permits or licenses from authorized agencies. However, it’s important to note that bearded dragons do not fall under Class I Wildlife classification.

Bearded dragons belong to an order known as Squamata, which includes lizards and snakes. However, they are classified as non-native or non-indigenous reptiles rather than Class I Wildlife according to Maryland law.

This means that owning a bearded dragon does not require any special permits or licenses within the state. As long as you adhere to general guidelines for responsible pet ownership and care for your bearded dragon properly, you can legally keep one as a pet in Maryland without facing legal consequences.

While there may not be any specific legal restrictions on owning a bearded dragon in Maryland, it’s crucial to remember that these reptiles have specific care requirements. Being responsible for an exotic pet like a bearded dragon involves meeting their environmental, dietary, and healthcare needs.

Here are some key aspects of caring for your bearded dragon:

  1. Habitat: Provide a spacious enclosure with appropriate heating and lighting.
  2. Diet: Feed your bearded dragon a balanced diet consisting of insects, leafy greens, and occasionally fruits.
  3. Temperature and Humidity: Maintain the right temperature gradient within the enclosure along with sufficient humidity levels.
  4. Veterinary Care: Regularly visit a qualified reptile veterinarian for check-ups and vaccinations if needed.

In summary, owning a bearded dragon is legal in Maryland as they are not classified as Class I Wildlife. However, always ensure you provide proper care and meet all their needs as responsible pet owners. Familiarize yourself with any local regulations or restrictions that may apply to other reptile species before considering them as pets. As long as you follow the guidelines mentioned above, you can enjoy the companionship of these fascinating creatures without any legal concerns in Maryland!