Exotic, dangerous or wild animals

Eligibility, licence conditions, how to apply, renewals, rights of appeal, offences and penalties.

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Act) controls the keeping of certain wild animals. 

You cannot keep any dangerous, wild animal without first getting a licence from us. 

Please see the list of animals controlled by the Act


To get a licence you must: 

  • be over 18 
  • not be disqualified or convicted under the Act
  • be the person who owns and possesses, or proposes to own and possess, the animal (except in exceptional circumstances)

Licence conditions 

You must meet certain licence conditions. 

Before granting a licence, we must be satisfied that: 

  • it isn’t against the public interest to do so on the grounds of safety, nuisance or other grounds 
  • the applicant is suitable to hold a licence to keep the animal 
  • the animal will be kept in accommodation that is suitable: 
  • to prevent escape 
  • in construction, size, temperature, drainage and cleanliness 
  • for it to take adequate exercise 
  • the animal will have enough suitable food, drink and bedding material 
  • the animal will be visited (so far as is necessary) at suitable intervals 
  • appropriate steps will be taken to ensure the animal is protected in case of fire or other emergency 
  • all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases 

All licences will have the following conditions: 

  • only the person named on the licence is entitled to keep the animal 
  • the animal will only be kept on the premises named on the licence 
  • the animal will not be moved, or may only be moved, under conditions specified in the licence 
  • the licensee must hold a current insurance policy, approved by us, which insures against liability for damage caused by the animal 
  • only the species and number of animals listed on the licence may be kept 
  • the licensee will make a copy of the licence and its contents available to any other person listed on the licence as being able to look after the animal 
  • we may at any time remove or change any licence condition apart from those that must be satisfied before granting a licence (see ‘licence conditions’ section above) 

We may attach other conditions as we see fit. 


Please contact us if you wish to apply. 


The fee for a year is £585. This is payable at the time you make your application. 

The licence runs from 1 January to 31 December. If we grant a licence mid-year, you will pay the amount for part of the year. 

You will also be required to pay the cost of inspections. 

Licence renewal 

Licences expire on 31 December.

To continue to keep the animal, you must renew your licence before that date. 

Your rights of appeal 

You may appeal to the magistrates court if you are unhappy: 

  • that you have been refused a licence 
  • by any of the conditions attached to your licence 

Offences and penalties 

You may be fined up to £2,000 if you are found guilty of: 

  • keeping an animal covered by the Act without a licence 
  • failing to follow any conditions of your licence 
  • obstructing or delaying an inspector or authorised veterinary practitioner or veterinary surgeon 

We may take the animal and keep it or have it destroyed or disposed of (to a zoo or elsewhere), without compensation to you if you: 

  • keep an animal without a licence 
  • fail to follow a condition of your licence

If costs are involved in taking, keeping or disposing of an animal, you are liable for those costs. 

Contact the licensing team