Exotic Animal Registry

Wild, Exotic and Venomous Animals Registry

The amended ordinance allows current owners of the animals listed in the ordinance in Loudoun County to keep them but requires that those animals be registered with the county to ensure awareness by first responders in the event of an emergency. Owners of certain animals were required to register their animals with the county by May 8, 2023.


In March 2023, he Loudoun County Board of Supervisors adopted a new section of Chapter 612, Dogs and Other Animals, of the Codified Ordinances of Loudoun County that prohibits ownership of certain exotic and venomous species of animals that present a risk to public health and safety. The new section of Chapter 612 of the Codified Ordinances of Loudoun County prohibits private ownership of certain exotic and venomous species of animals that present a risk to public health and safety, such as wolf hybrids, kangaroos, scorpions, baboons, alligators, venomous snakes and other venomous reptiles, and non-native venomous spiders. Loudoun joins other jurisdictions that have similar ordinances, including the Town of Leesburg; Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties; the District of Columbia; and jurisdictions in Maryland.

“Wild or exotic animal” means any live non-human primate, raccoon, skunk, wolf or hybrid canine, coyote, squirrel, fox, leopard, panther, tiger, lion, cheetah, bear, wild cat (e.g., bobcat, lynx and caracal, serval, ocelot), crocodilian (e.g. alligators, caimans, gavials) venomous snake, venomous reptile, scorpions (other than those in the genus Pandinus); widow, recluse, funnel-web, banana/wandering, sand or trapdoor spiders and tarantulas (except those native to North or South America and the Mexican redknee variety) or any other warm-blooded mammal or marsupial that can normally be found in a wild state. 

All domestically bred or legally imported birds, ratites, non-venomous snakes, non-venomous reptiles, rear-fanged snakes, amphibians, fish, ferrets, rabbits, rats, mice, gerbils, chinchillas, hedgehogs, sugar gliders and guinea pigs which have been bred in captivity are excluded from the definition.

The ordinance does not apply to animal programs operated by Loudoun County Public Schools; wildlife rehabilitators, wildlife exhibitors or veterinary clinics which are properly licensed or permitted by the federal government or Commonwealth of Virginia; scientific research facilities; conservation police or animal control officers managing or transporting said animals in the line of duty; the department temporarily housing said animals, or a wildlife sanctuary as defined under the federal Lacey Act. Virginia law already restricts private ownership of many other wild and exotic animals, such as big cats and bears. 

Adoption of the ordinance came after an extensive public process, which included a public information meeting hosted by Loudoun County Animal Services, an online comment form on the county website and a Board of Supervisors public hearing.