Are caracals legal in Arizona?

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It is legal to purchase and own a caracal in Arizona, provided that the owner has a license and is responsible for the animal’s care and feeding. Other states where caracals are legal as exotic pets include Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Texas.

It is important to note that owning a caracal comes with additional expenses such as food costs and veterinary care. Caracals are wild animals and require specialized care and attention. They are also difficult to train and can be independent.

If you’re considering owning a caracal as a pet, it’s important to research the laws in your state and consult with a veterinarian to ensure that you can provide the necessary care for the animal.


The above answer comes thanks to Bing using their artificial intelligence-driven search. It seems to be good but it is short. The big issue with having a caracal as a pet is that they are not meant to be pets but wild animals! The owner has to carry a big responsibility to make this work.

And the Bing answer does not provide details of the license. There will be a lot of detail and obligations for the caracal owner.

So here are some more details about the legality of owning a caracal in Arizona as a pet:

The relevant Arizona law can be found under Ariz. Admin. Code § 12-4-406. This states that if a citizen of Arizona wants to possess i.e. own a caracal they have to do apply for a licence. In fact, this law states that a person must possess all applicable federal licences and permits and the appropriate special licence listed under R12-4-409(A) or they must have to be lawfully exempt from the requirement of possessing a licence and this exemption is authorised under the following sections of Arizona’s above-mentioned legislation: A.R.S. § 17-255.04, R12-4-316, R12-4-404, R12-4-405, R12-4-407, R12-4-425, R12-4-427, and R12-4-430.

Accordingly, the caracal in Arizona falls into the category of “restricted live wildlife”. The legislation provides a long list based on their taxonomic classification. The list includes all animals under the order Carnivora. The caracal is in the order Carnivora. That’s why these restrictions apply to the caracal in Arizona. The word ‘order’ in this context is a taxonomic term.

I would, therefore, telephone the Arizona wildlife services or contact them online and ask about the requirements of their licence.

Separately, I strongly suspect that it would be illegal for a person without lawful authority under state or federal law to import and transport into Arizona and release a species of wildlife that is listed as threatened or endangered. It is my belief that the caracal would fall into that category. This law is: 1973 (P.L. 93-205; 87 Stat. 884; 16 United States Code sections 1531 through 1544).

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