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Can You Legally Keep A Sloth As A Pet in the United States?

Can You Legally Keep A Sloth As A Pet in the United States

Having a pet animal comes with a lot of benefits. One gets to enjoy companionship and warmth and a chance to give and receive love. While many people usually like to go for dogs, cats, fish, birds, and other common alternatives, some don’t wish to befriend animals you see daily. A lot of people prefer exotic animals over regular ones. While many exotic animals are out there, some enjoy more popularity than others. Sloth is one such animal. A lot of people want a sloth as a pet.

Sloths make popular family-friendly, cuddly pets for those who love exotic pets. They are long-lived, sometimes lasting for 30 years or more in captivity, may be loving and playful, and are unlikely to escape. There are several disadvantages to owning a sloth, even though they may be the ideal pet for some individuals. They are pricey to buy and may need special licenses and permissions, much like other exotic pets. Costly exotic pet insurance is required since, depending on the species, they could have specialized nutritional needs and require pricey veterinarian care.

Moreover, with exotic tastes comes the question of legality. While you may like to get yourself a sloth and may even give it a perfect life, the law doesn’t always permit you to rear exotic animals. Read on to find out if you can legally keep a sloth as a pet if you live in the United States of America.

Is It Ethical to Keep a Sloth as a Pet?

sloth
Because it is hard to perfectly reproduce their native habitat in captivity, wild mammals like sloths rarely perform as well in captivity as they do in the wild. Owning a sloth, therefore, has the inherent danger of being detrimental to the animal’s health or overall well-being. 

It is challenging to spot signals of tension or displeasure in sloths since they do not communicate in ways that are simple for people to understand. Even the most responsible individual finds ownership difficult as a result. Owning a sloth is unethical, even if it may not be openly cruel.

Is It Legal to Keep a Sloth as a Pet?

Is legal to keep sloth
As of 2022, it is legal to keep
a sloth as a pet in Alabama and Florida, but you may require to obtain a permit for it. The states of Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, and South Dakota require you to obtain a health certificate to keep a sloth. Texas allows the ownership of two-toed pet sloths. 

Although their state laws may not specifically indicate it, some states might permit sloths. Some regulations prohibit traveling over state boundaries with sloths, boarding them, and other limitations. To find out if it is legally valid for you to possess, ride, or transfer a two-toed sloth where you reside, get in touch with your state and local authorities.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Sloth

buying a sloth
As mentioned earlier, it is expensive to buy a sloth. This high amount attracts a lot of people to indulge in illegal trade. When acquiring a sloth, you should look for a reliable provider because you do not wish to buy a sloth from an illegal trader. Such people capture sloths from the wild, which is against the law and very immoral. Due to their poor adaptation to life in captivity, they are more likely to perish.

Know Your Sloth: Temperament And Behavior

You should know a few things if you want a sloth as a pet. Wild sloths spend most of their time sleeping at night in their native environments, while captive sloths may alter their sleeping patterns and spend more time awake during the day. These sluggish creatures detest being stroked, combed, or washed. They don’t exhibit visible stress indicators as most other animals do.

Instead, when they feel danger, they instinctively stop moving. Because of this, it may be challenging to determine when a sloth is fearful or disturbed. A sloth may use its razor-sharp claws and teeth to defend itself in specific situations, which might result in severe harm. In captivity, this can take place when people or other animals act violently.

Animals like sloths are inherently silent. You may hear your sloth making minimal sounds. They also need to move more slowly. Their limbs are designed for gripping, hanging on things, and climbing rather than for moving quickly. They can easily hang upside down from branches or cling to tree trunks but struggle to move awkwardly (and slowly) on the ground. They can hold their breath underwater for up to 40 minutes and are outstanding swimmers.

How to Care for your Sloth?


You must provide round-the-clock care for your new baby sloth. This intensive care involves 30-minute bottle-feeding sessions every two and a half hours. You may need to do this even in the middle of the night. Young sloths require bottle feeding for up to six months and don’t become independent until they are at least a year old. Due to their intricate digestive system, adult sloths need a particular diet.

A pet sloth requires a sturdy surface to climb to support its weight. Inside the house, it will take pleasure in climbing and swinging from real or fake trees. If this isn’t feasible, it can be content climbing other structures made for this function, including wooden or metal frames. 

It should ideally have a sizable living area that is free to explore and play. A tall cage should be available at least to provide the animal with lots of room to climb around.

Final Verdict

Due to their exotic status, sloths may need prospective owners wanting to keep a sloth as a pet to complete specific requirements and get certain licenses or permissions. It is crucial to research any legal restrictions before deciding to keep this animal as a pet

These differ from nation to nation and, within the US, state to state. Under these conditions, keeping a sloth might result in a hefty punishment, jail time, and animal seizure. It is always best to consult law enforcement before getting yourself a sloth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can you keep a pet sloth?

The fact that sloths remain, wild creatures is the major factor preventing them from being great pets. They are ideally adapted for living in the ceiling of tropical rainforests, despite their image as lazy, laid-back animals. Horses, dogs, kittens, and other companion animals have made compromises to coexist with humans.

2. Do sloths have poison?

In the unlikely event that you are bitten by a sloth, you need not panic since neither they nor their hair or nails are toxic. Nevertheless, sloth bites can quickly develop septic.

3. Where can I find a sloth in the United States?

Specialists only provide a unique, one-of-a-kind, up-close, and intimate bond when you meet one of our two-toed sloths from Wild Florida! You would be able to touch one of our two-toed sloths throughout the Premium Sloth Excursion and feed and interact with each of them.

4. Can you handle a sloth?

Sloths do not pose a danger to individuals since they are naturally non-aggressive. Due to their solitary nature and need for solitude, sloths do not enjoy being caressed like domestic animals. Consequently, they have the potential to be lethal and seriously harm humans if you approach them too closely.

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