Pet Lions, Crocodiles, Monkeys Could Soon Be Banned in Arlington County

Pet lions and crocodiles could soon become illegal in Arlington, Virginia.

Surprised they aren't already? Turns out, many D.C.-area jurisdictions ban exotic or wild animals as pets -- but Arlington isn't one of them. Yet.

Now the Arlington County Board is considering whether to hold a public hearing on whether to ban keeping these animals as pets.

"Under current County Code, Arlington bars the keeping of pigs, fowl and poisonous reptiles. But there's nothing now on the books to prevent residents from raising a lion, monkey or even a crocodile," Arlington officials said in a press release Friday.

The change would also prohibit the keeping of wolves, raccoons, lynxes, alligators, tarantulas, hedgehogs and sugar gliders. Non-poisonous snakes or other reptiles longer than four feet would also be banned.

However, there would be an exception for some exotic pets already owned by residents. Those pet owners would be able to keep their animals if they register them with animal control, officials said.

Officials said the ban would aim to prevent humans from getting hurt and animals from being mistreated.

Arlington officials said in their release that D.C., Fairfax, Prince William and Montgomery counties all already have similar laws on the books.

During a board meeting Saturday, Arlington County Board members will consider a request to advertise a March 18 public hearing on the issue.

Arlington residents will also be able to comment several other ways:

  • By using Arlington's online CiviComment tool.
  • Mail or hand-deliver comments to: Arlington County Department of Human Services, Attn: Lyn Hainge, 2100 Washington Blvd., Second Floor, Arlington, VA 22204.
  • Speak at the (proposed) public hearing, which would be held March 18 at 8:30 a.m. in the County Board Room (2100 Clarendon Blvd., third floor, Arlington).
  • Email comments to
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