Wildlife as Pets: Importation & Captivity Requirements

Section 6 of the Wildlife Act allows the Director of Wildlife to determine which wildlife species may be imported into Nova Scotia and the rules for keeping wildlife species, both native and exotic, as pets or in captivity. Generally the Department discourages keeping native wildlife species as pets.

There are some wildlife species exempt from an import permit or a captive wildlife permit provided:

  • The species has originated from a reputable captive breeding program, or can legally and sustainably be taken from the wild in the originating jurisdiction.
  • The species are disease free.
  • The species will not be released to the wild without a Wildlife Release Permit.
  • The species will be properly housed, and if transported off the premises of the owner, shall be in an escape-proof container, except where permission is received from the property owner.

For all other species, whether they naturally occur in the province or not, an import permit is required to bring them into Nova Scotia and a captive wildlife permit is required to keep them in captivity or as pets. An export permit is also required if they are to leave Nova Scotia. Please request permit applications from wildlife@novascotia.ca

The Director has also determined which species will not be granted a captive wildlife permit or an import permit.

captive wildlife graphic Prohibited List Excluded list