Are Water Dragons Legal in Montana?

If you’re a reptile enthusiast living in Montana, you might be wondering whether it is legal to own and keep water dragons as pets. Water dragons, also known as Chinese water dragons or green water dragons (Scientific name: Physignathus cocincinus), are popular among reptile enthusiasts due to their striking appearance, interesting behavior, and relative ease of care.

When it comes to owning exotic animals like water dragons, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations that govern pet ownership. In the case of Montana, these laws are primarily enforced by the state’s Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP).

In Montana’s Animal Importation Rules Chapter 16.4.404-406 MCA §87-5-102(3) – possession of potentially dangerous animal includes but is not limited to:

  1. A member of a family Felidae other than a domestic cat;
  2. A member of Canidae other than a domestic dog;
  3. A member of Ursidae;
  4. An ape or monkey;
  5. An elephant;
  6. A bear;
  7. A venomous snake;
  8. Naja Nivea (Indian Cobra);
Species Prohibited for Possession
Bridled Nailtail Wallaby
Petrogale penicillata

Cane Toad Rhinella marina |

Giant Panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca |

Golden Bamboo Lemur Hapalemur aureus

Gorilla Gorilla gorilla |

Hawksbill Sea Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata

Komodo Dragon Varanus komodoensis |

Lemuridae Family all species excluding Brown and Red Ruffed Lemurs|

Leopard Pathera pardus |

Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu |

Ocelot Leopardus pardalis |

The list above only includes animals that are explicitly prohibited by the state of Montana. Water dragons are not mentioned in this list, nor do they fall into any other category specified by the FWP.

While water dragons may not be specifically addressed in Montana’s exotic pet rules, it is essential to note that local city or county ordinances might have additional regulations. Therefore, before acquiring a water dragon as a pet, check with your local government authorities to ensure compliance with any specific permit requirements or restrictions.

If you’ve determined that owning a water dragon is legal in your area, it’s important to understand their care needs before bringing one home. Water dragons require large enclosures with ample climbing opportunities and access to clean water for swimming. They also need UVB lighting and a balanced diet consisting of insects, leafy greens, fruits, and occasionally small mammals or fish.

Additionally, it’s crucial to provide proper temperature gradients within their enclosure while maintaining appropriate humidity levels. Regular veterinarian check-ups and proper handling techniques should also be considered when owning any reptile as a pet.

Based on the information available, owning water dragons as pets is generally legal in Montana. However, it’s important to conduct thorough research and follow any local ordinances or permit requirements that might apply in your specific area. If you’re considering getting a water dragon as a pet, seek advice from reputable reptile experts to ensure you provide the optimal care for these incredible creatures.