Are Uromastyx Legal in California?

If you’re considering getting a pet Uromastyx, one of the first things you should check is whether they are legal to own in your area. In the case of California, it’s essential to be aware of the regulations surrounding these exotic reptiles.

Exotic pet ownership is regulated by state and local laws to protect both animals and humans. These laws aim to prevent the introduction of invasive species that could harm native wildlife populations or pose risks to public health and safety. Therefore, each state has its own set of rules regarding which animals can be kept as pets.

In California, owning a Uromastyx lizard is legal with some restrictions imposed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). According to current regulations, only certain species within the Uromastyx genus are permissible as pets in this state.

The three species allowed for private ownership are:

  1. Uromastyx geyri: also known as Saharan or Niger uromastyx.
  2. Uromastyx ocellata: commonly referred to as ornate uromastyxes.
  3. Uromastxy ornata philbyi:, a subspecies originating from Saudi Arabia.

To legally keep any permitted Uromatyxs species in California, you must obtain a Restricted Species Permit (RSP) issued by DFW. This permit ensures that only responsible individuals who meet specific criteria can possess these reptiles. The RSP application process may include providing details about your experience in reptile husbandry, the enclosure setup, and veterinary care.

Alongside obtaining an RSP, there are additional regulations that need to be followed when keeping Uromastyx lizards in California:

  • You cannot breed or sell these reptiles without a separate permit.
  • All Uromastyx species must be legally acquired from reputable sources and not taken from the wild.
  • The DFW may conduct periodic inspections to ensure compliance with housing and care standards.

Prior to acquiring a Uromastyx pet, it’s crucial to thoroughly research their dietary needs, habitat requirements, temperature preferences, and overall care. These lizards have unique traits and habits that demand proper attention for them to thrive in captivity. It’s also essential to find a knowledgeable veterinarian experienced in treating reptiles who can provide medical advice when needed.

If you reside in California and dream of owning a Uromastyx lizard as a companion animal, rest assured that it is possible within certain guidelines. By adhering to the state’s regulations regarding permitted species along with securing the necessary permits from DFW, you can enjoy sharing your life with these fascinating creatures while respecting both their wellbeing and native wildlife populations.