Owner beware: Your pet mongoose is not welcome here.

Exotic animal ownership requires not only a willingness to care for unusual animals, but an understanding of the laws that regulate wildlife in particular states.

Laws vary widely across the country, but all are designed with the intent to protect public health and safety from animals considered to be inherently dangerous.

Banned animals range from the more obvious—lions, tigers, bears, wolves—to the obscure, such as mongooses (prohibited in Alabama) and the raccoon dog (banned in both South Dakota and Kentucky). Some regulations appear nonsensical: In Colorado, you can own a bison, but not a hedgehog. Bummer.

Some states have exceptions or require owners to obtain permits for particular animals, while a handful of states have no specific requirements for owning wild animals as pets. Many states are clear about the penalties for illegally owning exotic pets, which can range from fees to criminal charges.

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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