The difference between wild and exotic animals
Search by
postal code:
Search our site:

Animal Helpline:


For all other calls and inquiries
see our contact details.

Find a BC SPCA location in your area:

​​What’s the difference between exotic and wild animals?

Wild animals are indigenous to Canada, but exotic animals are wild animals from other countries. These animals can be captured from the wild or bred in captivity. Exotic animals are often sold in the international pet trade.

The BC SPCA does not support keeping wild or exotic animals as pets, due to their unique physical and emotional needs. These animals often suffer in care because of their specialized needs.

Under provincial law, it is illegal to keep certain wildlife and certain dangerous exotic animals like tigers, primates or crocodiles, as they are designated as Controlled Alien Species.

Many cities also have exotic animal bylaws that make it illegal to keep some or all exotic pets. Check with your local municipality for a list of banned exotic animals.

Read more about exotic pets.