Massachusetts Wildlife Laws for Hunting, Trapping & More

This page is designed to help visitors learn more about wildlife laws in the state and to discover resources concerning wildlife. Wildlife Damage Control welcomes suggestions. Just drop us an e-mail.

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Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Info.



If you think an exotic animal like a tiger, monkey, alligator, sugar glider or piranha would make a great pet or holiday gift, think again.
Massachusetts has very strict regulations governing the possession of both native and exotic wildlife by the general public.

According to MassWildlife Assistant Director Dr. Tom French, "Many people assume that any animal they can purchase in another state or over the Internet is legal to possess in Massachusetts. This is simply not true. Our regulations are restrictive to the point that we publish only what you may possess, rather than what you may not. Our goal with these regulations is to protect both the interests of wildlife and the public."

French recommends doing business with established and reputable pet shops rather than surfing the net or scanning the classifieds where sellers are not necessarily concerned or aware of the laws that might affect potential buyers. "Store owners keep up with the laws and are routinely inspected by the Environmental Police," French notes. "The store owners were an effective lobby for making domestic ferrets a legal pet in Massachusetts and know their livelihood depends on doing business by the book. They'll be happy to sell you reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and mammals that conform with our laws, and they'll tell you if something you ask about is illegal."

The complete regulation, known as the Exemption List, is available by sending a stamped, self-addressed, legal-sized envelope to: Exemption List, MassWildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Westboro, MA 01581. Exemption refers to those species which are exempt from licensing provisions of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131, Section 23. Only museums, nature centers or educational institutions are granted permits for non-exempt species. For more information contact Dr. Tom French, 508.792.7270 x163. End


Massachusetts General Laws chapter 131
Modifications to Question 1 relating to beaver Damage

Massachusetts State Wildlife Disease Information

Massachusetts Division of Epidemiology and Immunizationweekdays 617-983-6800  Evenings/Weekends (emergencies) 617-522-3700

West Nile Virus - Anyone with questions about West Nile Virus is urged to contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617.983.6800. Dead birds may be reported by calling toll free 1.866.MASS.WNV (627.7968). Additional information is found on the web at


Massachusetts Association of Problem Animal Controllers

Professional Animal Damage Controllers

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Disclaimer: WDC seeks to provide accurate, effective and responsible information on resolving human/wildlife conflicts. We welcome suggestions, criticisms to help us achieve this goal. The information provided is for informational purposes only and users of the information use it at their own risk. The reader must consult state/federal officials to determine the legality of any technique in the reader's locale. Some techniques are dangerous to the user and to others. WDC encourages readers to obtain appropriate training (see our informational literature at our Store ), and understand that proper animal damage control involves patience, understanding that not every technique/method works for every situation or even 100% of the time. Your use of this information is governed by this understanding. We welcome potential users of the information and photos to simply ask for permission via e-mail. Finally, WDC welcomes e-mail but understand that all e-mails become property of Wildlife Damage Control.