Laws Related to Native Wildlife

By Georgia Law, most native species of wildlife cannot be held without permits or licenses. These licenses are not issued for the purpose of holding native wildlife as pets. These restrictions apply to the various species of animal, regardless of the origin or morphology.


Georgia Law allows the taking of certain native species -- namely rats, mice, armadillos, coyotes, groundhogs, beaver, freshwater turtles, venomous snakes, frogs, spring lizards, fiddler crabs, freshwater crayfish, freshwater mussels, and nutria -- because of their status as a nuisance or other reason. State regulations prohibit the holding of live armadillos, coyotes, groundhogs, and beaver without the proper permits or licenses. Certain freshwater turtles, mussels, and other species on Georgia's Protected Wildlife List cannot be possessed or collected without proper licenses.

The following list of species native to Georgia may not be held as a pet regardless of its origin or morphology. Although extensive, this list does not include all native wildlife that is prohibited. If there is any doubt about the legality of possessing any species, contact the Special Permit Unit at 770-918-6408.


  • Armadillo
  • Bats, all species
  • Black Bear
  • Bobcat
  • Chipmunk
  • Cottontail Rabbit
  • Coyote
  • Cougar
  • Flying Squirrel
  • Fox Squirrel
  • Gray Fox
  • Gray Squirrel
  • Groundhog
  • Marsh Rabbit
  • Mink
  • Mole
  • Muskrat
  • Opossum
  • Pocket Gopher
  • Raccoon
  • Red Fox
  • River Otter
  • Skunk
  • Swamp Rabbit
  • Weasel
  • White-tailed Deer

Reptiles and Amphibians

  • Alligator
  • Alligator Snapping Turtle
  • Black Racer
  • Bog Turtle
  • Box Turtle (Eastern, Florida, Gulf Coast, Three-toed)
  • Brown Snake
  • Coachwhip
  • Corn Snake
  • Crayfish Snake (Glossy, Striped)
  • Crowned Snake (Southeastern, Central Florida)
  • Diamondback Terrapin
  • Earth Snake (Rough, Smooth)
  • Fence Lizard
  • Flatwoods Salamander
  • Florida Worm Lizard
  • Garter Snake
  • Georgia Blind Salamander
  • Glass Lizard (Eastern, Island, Mimic, Slender)
  • Gopher Tortoise
  • Green Anole
  • Green Salamander
  • Hellbender
  • Hognose Snake (Eastern, Southern)
  • Indigo Snake
  • Kingsnake (Black, Eastern, Mole, Scarlet)
  • Map Turtle (Alabama, Barbour's, Common)
  • Milksnake
  • Mud Snake
  • One-toed Amphiuma
  • Pigeon Mountain Salamander
  • Pine Snake (Florida, Northern)
  • Pine Woods Snake
  • Queen Snake
  • Rainbow Snake
  • Rat Snake (Black, Gray, Yellow)
  • Redbellied Snake
  • Ribbon Snake
  • Ringneck Snake
  • Rough Green Snake
  • Scarlet Snake
  • Sea Turtle (Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback, Loggerhead, Ridley)
  • Six-lined Racerunner
  • Skink (Broadhead, Coal, Five-lined, Southeastern Five-lined, Ground, Mole)
  • Spotted Turtle
  • Striped Newt
  • Water Snake (Banded, Brown, Florida Green, Northern, Redbelly)
  • Worm Snake

Birds and Fishes

All species of birds encountered in the wild in Georgia are protected by state and federal laws except English sparrows, European starlings, and pigeons.  

All species of fish native to the waters of Georgia are protected.