Bugs We Love: Which Bugs Can Be Your Pets?

bugs as pets

Pets have become a part of the family in many households––they bring a lot of joy into our homes. In fact, according to a recent poll, approximately 62% of family homes include a pet or two. Of those, 95% consider their pet part of the family. 

As expected, the majority of people own a cat or dog. Only about 9% of people surveyed said they had a pet that didn’t fall into the cat, dog, fish, or bird category––and these people keep bugs as pets. While most people are trying to exterminate these creatures, others are welcoming them into their homes. 

Out of the hundreds of thousands of bugs that roam the earth, only a small number are domesticated. Here are the most common bugs (and arachnids) kept as pets:

  • Mantids
  • Centipedes 
  • Madagascar hissing cockroaches
  • Stick insects
  • Leaf cutters
  • Ants
  • Tarantulas

Though bugs are relatively easy to find in your backyard, there are a few things you should know about bug ownership––like the risk of infestations or injuries––as well as the regulations in your state. 

Bugs Are Considered Exotic 

Since you can find an insect in your backyard or on the sidewalk in your city––you may think of them as ordinary creatures. However, due to their nature of causing disease or injury, they’re considered exotic. Because of this, owning an insect comes with a lot more regulation and restriction than owning a more common pet like a dog or a goldfish. Whenever you look for the ownership regulations of a certain insect, make sure you look at the policy of owning an exotic pet. 

Know Transport Laws Before You Buy

Typically, regulations begin before your insect even makes it to the states. The federal government and states have placed very tight regulations on which insects you can and cannot import into the United States. Bugs that are poisonous or pose safety hazards are banned in any situation. Other times, the sender may need a special permit to ship the insect to you.

If you’re unsure about federal regulations, it’s imperative to ask the provider about shipping regulations as well as if they have the proper permits for shipping. If you don’t follow regulations, you can be fined a hefty amount.

The Lacey Act is a great resource to brush up on regulation laws in other countries for the trafficking of specific insects, plants, and animals. Also, the second you cross state lines, regulations will apply, and a license from the USDA APHIS will be necessary. 

An Import/Export License Does Not Excuse You

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issues an import/export fish and wildlife license. However, having this license doesn’t necessarily excuse you from regulations held within the state. This license means you can commercially import and export exotic species through the designated ports. The U.S. only allows the importing and exporting at certain ports within the country––and each port has its own protocol. 

Exporters and importers are also expected to bring documentation and identification to prove the insects were acquired through legal means. At this point, the insects will receive clearance through customs. 

Insects Registered as Protected or Endangered Are Off Limits

Regardless of whether an insect is foreign or domestic, there are strict regulations against obtaining threatened or endangered plant and animal species. 

Registered Plant Pest List: Under the authority of the Plant Protection Act, according to the USDA, any species of insect that poses a threat to agriculture are restricted from personal ownership––and must be carefully controlled.

Threatened/Endangered Species List: Species that are in danger of going extinct are put on the threatened/endangered species list. These animals are put on a careful watchlist and are prohibited from handling. 

At Vulcan Termite & Pest Control, we’re the bug experts––nobody else knows bugs quite like we do. We’ll provide a thorough inspection of your home to make sure it stays pest free! Call us today for a free quote.