Are caracals legal in Alabama?

Can you own a caracal in Alabama?
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Of all the smaller wild cats the caracal is generally more predisposed to accepting the role of human pet! So, can a citizen of Alabama own/possess the medium-sized wild cat called the caracal as an exotic pet? Although Alabama prohibits the personal possession of many exotic animals it does not prohibit the ownership of caracals on my understanding of the law as at 2023. Things change remember.

The state bans any species listed as ‘injurious’ under the US Fish and Wildlife’s Lacey Act (18 USC 42). That list does not include the caracal.

Also, to the best of my knowledge, as at the date of this post, Alabama does not demand licenses for the possession or ownership of a caracal. So, it would appear to be an entirely unregulated area. If you disagree and know better, please comment. Comments welcome from citizens of Alabama living with a caracal.

The same rules will apply to other small and medium-sized wild cats I expect. Another favorite wild cat for domestication (of sorts) is the lanky serval. What applies to the caracal must also apply to the serval.

I have been cautious in the way I have provided this assessment as it always tricky to find clear expositions of the law on ownership of exotic pets in the US. You just don’t find it clearly stated in one place. The best website for all the states on this topic is Big Cat Rescue (BCR) and the best for individual examples is this website!

In this instance I primarily relied on BCR and Findlaw.com. The wildlife departments of US states don’t make it easy to answer questions on the ownership of exotic pets.

P.S. the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act 2022 does not cover small and medium-sized wild cat species and therefore does not cover the caracal.

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