Dangerous wild animals

Apply for a licence to keep a dangerous wild animal.

The keeping of certain species of wild animals is controlled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. No person may keep any dangerous wild animal without first obtaining a licence.  A list of animals you need a licence for can be found on the legislation website (external link). However, this does not apply to any dangerous wild animal kept in a zoo; a circus; premises licensed as a pet shop; or a place which is a designated establishment within the meaning of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

A person is held to be the keeper of the animal if they have it in their possession. They remain the 'keeper' and therefore are responsible for the animal, even if it escapes or it is being transported etc.

The Act aims to ensure that where private individuals keep dangerous wild animals, they do so in circumstances which create no risk to the public and which safeguard the welfare of the animals. Premises will be inspected before a licence can be granted,

If a dangerous wild animal is being kept without the authority of a licence or in contravention of a licence condition, the local authority may seize the animal and retain it, destroy it or otherwise dispose of it - in these circumstances, any costs would be met by the owner.

A dangerous wild animal licence is valid for two years from the date of the grant of the licence. If you are refused a licence you can appeal to the Magistrates Court, an applicant can appeal on the grounds of refusal, conditions attached, variations or revocations.


To apply for this licence, please email the Environmental Health team.

Contact Environmental Health