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How To Become A Backyard Zookeeper

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How To Become A Backyard Zookeeper

Love zoo animals? Have questionable morals and ethics? Then running a backyard zoo could be for you!

The Cost of Animals

I'm sure right now you are thinking "well gee, I'd love to have a backyard zoo, but the cost must be astronomical!" No way Jose, it's actually extremely cheap! Check out these low, low prices!

  • Cougar cub - $600
  • African lion cub - $500
  • Black bear - $500
  • Bengal tiger - $1,200
  • Giraffe - $60,000
  • Spider monkey - $6,600
  • Kangaroo - $3,000
  • Olive baboon - $1,000
  • Two-toed sloth - $3,000
  • Black swan - $300
  • Burmese python - $200
  • Emperor scorpion - $20
  • Olde English chicken- $10

Exotic Animal Laws

Now your next hurdle will be the local laws that exist where you want to start your crazy backyard zoo. Luckily in many parts of the US there are NO LICENSING OR PERMIT LAWS WHATSOEVER. If you live in Alabama, Idaho, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin it's your lucky day!

In these 12 states you just need to get a permit: Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas

These states ban some animals but not others: Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Virginia

And if you live in these states, then you probably should move, because they clearly don't understand your long standing dream to own a giraffe: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming

Exotic Pet Ownership: By The Numbers

  • More than 15,000 non-human primates are being kept as pets in the United States. You could easily be living next door to a chimpanzee and not even know it! (two houses, one normal, fence in between, large zoo, carousel, animals, etc. in the yard next door behind fence)
  • Many of the wild animals you see on TV talk shows and in photoshoots are actually being bred and raised by backyard breeders! The Zanesville, OH guy had appeared with his animals on The Rachel Ray Show and furnished Heidi Klum with a baby lion for a photoshoot. (maybe a cartoon lion wearing "Hollywood" sunglasses with a photographer or video camera guy filming/taking pictures)
  • It is seriously not at all difficult to buy these animals. This can't be stressed enough! Exotic livestock auctions happen ALL THE TIME and are easily found on the internet. Heck, you can even skip the auction and buy them at At the time of this infographic's publication you can find wolves, zebras, lemurs, and a GIRAFFE. (a giraffe on an ebay style site on a computer monitor)
  • In the past 20 years there have been at least 75 deaths in the US from exotic animal ownership, and thousands of injuries. That's just the harm to people, finding stats on animal harm is impossible. (maybe a cartoon emaciated tiger in a cage? ribs showing, matted fur, etc.)

We obviously don't condone owning exotic wildlife, and think the current laws in many states are INSANE. Backyards zoos recently received worldwide attention when a Zanesville, Ohio man released his menagerie of animals, leading to the deaths of numerous bears, lions, tigers, wolves and other animals. But surely YOUR backyard zoo will end better than this:

Hopefully, we will all learn from the Zanesville massacre and and keep wild animals wild.

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