Legal Pets in India (and Which Pets are Banned in India?)

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Written By Dr. Tamal Dey
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India is a land of diverse flora and fauna, and pets are an integral part of many households. However, not all pets are allowed to be kept in India due to their potential threat to public safety, health, and the environment. As a result, the Indian government has banned certain species of pets from being kept as domestic animals.

There are a lot of animals that are listed as “banned pets” in India. While you may think owning a bird or a tarantula is harmless, keeping them as pets is illegal, and can land you in jail.

In this article, we will discuss which pets are banned in India, why they are banned, and the legal consequences of keeping banned pets.

Note: This article will only give you information about illegal pets in India. By no means should this be treated as legal advice. You should seek professional advice from police and legal personnel before getting a pet to avoid any kind of trouble.

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Why is it illegal to own some animals as pets in India?

The Indian government has banned the ownership of some animals with the exception of dogs, cats, rabbits, fish, horses and some exotic pets for Indian citizens.

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Why are these Pets Banned in India?

Owning a certain animal as a pet in India can be illegal for three reasons:

  • The country’s laws and regulations lack complete provisions to protect animals from cruelty and abuse.
  • The local authorities argue that the stress on public health is due to a large number of stray animals, which can lead to an increase in rabies cases.
  • Rabies outbreaks are a major concern as they affect both humans and animals alike, as well as can prove fatal if not treated immediately.

Animal Welfare Laws in India

  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960)
  • The Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1998
  • A 2006 amendment specifies that experimenters must first try to use animals “lowest on the phylogenetic scale”, use the minimum number of animals for 95% statistical confidence, and justify not using non-animal alternatives.
  • A 2013 amendment bans the use of live animal experiments in medical education.
  • In 2014 India became the first country in Asia to ban all testing of cosmetics on animals and the import of cosmetics tested on animals.
  • In 2013 India made it illegal to use captive dolphins for public entertainment.

List of illegal pets in India

Some dog breeds

In India, some breeds of dogs are considered dangerous and are thus banned. These include:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro

These breeds are prohibited because of their aggressive nature and have been responsible for several dog attacks in the past.

Most Birds

Birds like Rose Ringed Parakeet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Red Munia, and Jungle Maina are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. Even the African grey parrot, Blue-throated Macaw, and Yellow-crested Cockatoo are protected from international commercial trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Only some birds are allowed in India. Read this list of allowed birds in India.

Wild Cats

All species of wild cats, including lions, tigers, cheetahs, and panthers, are prohibited as pets in India. These animals require specialized care and a proper environment, which most people cannot provide. Moreover, they pose a serious threat to public safety, and their keeping as pets is a criminal offence.

Related:  How to Make a Dog and a Cat Friends?

Tortoise and turtles

Most species of tortoise and turtles are not legal to own in India. Since most people can’t differentiate between kinds of tortoise, it’s easy to get misled into buying or owning an endangered species. The Indian Star Tortoise and the Red Ear Slider are among a few types that are illegal to own.

Aquatic species

Having an aquarium filled with beautiful marine fish is great, but it is not practical to keep these sea animals in cramped, small water bowls. These fishes don’t survive for long without saltwater. Cetaceans (dolphins or porpoises), penguins, otters, and manatees are banned according to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. It is also prohibited to keep or sell a few species of endangered fish. Instead, you can safely keep freshwater fish in the aquarium.

Snakes and other reptiles

India might be known for snake charmers, but it is illegal to own any native wildlife snake species here. Indian gharial and monitor lizards are also banned as pets. Some reptiles are allowed as pets outside but are banned in India.


Monkeys are revered in Hinduism, and devout Hindus often feed them. Monkeys, like other wild animals, can’t be kept and trained for entertainment purposes in India under Section 22 (ii), PCA Act 1960.

Legal Consequences of Keeping Banned Pets:

If you are found keeping a banned pet in India, you can face legal consequences, including:

  • Imprisonment: Keeping a banned pet is a criminal offence, and you can be sentenced to imprisonment.
  • Fines: You can be fined for keeping a banned pet in India.
  • Confiscation of the Pet: The Indian government has the right to confiscate your pet if it is found to be banned.


We seek the companion of a pet for peace and relaxation. Hence, always check legalities before getting a pet. This post is not legal advice. Always consult local police/law enforcement officers before procuring a pet.

Which pets are banned in India?

Several pets are banned in India, including dogs of specific breeds, all species of snakes, monkeys, wild cats, and certain species of birds.

Why are some pets banned in India?

These pets are banned for various reasons, including public safety, health, and environmental concerns. For example, some pets like dogs and monkeys are aggressive and pose a risk to public safety, while pets like snakes can be poisonous and spread diseases, posing a health risk to people.

What are the legal consequences of keeping banned pets in India?

If you are found keeping a banned pet in India, you can face legal consequences, including imprisonment, fines, and confiscation of the pet.

Can I obtain a license to keep a banned pet in India?

In some cases, you can obtain a license to keep a banned pet in India. For example, if you are a snake enthusiast, you can obtain a license from the Indian government to keep a snake as a pet.

Can I keep a pet cat or dog in India?

Yes, you can keep a domestic cat or dog in India, as long as it is not one of the banned breeds. However, it is important to ensure that you provide your pet with proper care and attention and that you comply with all the relevant laws and regulations.

What should I do if I come across someone keeping a banned pet in India?

If you come across someone keeping a banned pet in India, you can report it to the relevant authorities, such as the local police or animal welfare organizations. It is important to remember that keeping a banned pet is a criminal offence and can have serious legal consequences.

Author at Petfather | Website

I am a pet expert dealing with Cats, Dogs, Birds, Rabbits and Aquarium fish for the last 10 years. Now it is time to share my knowledge with you. I am very passionate about sharing everything that I learned so far about pet care. Watch my Youtube channel Petfather

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