10 Types Of Illegal Pets In Malaysia

By Yiing Zhi - November 04, 2020
10 Types Of Illegal Pets In Malaysia

Many of us may like to keep a pet at home, as it could provide companionship and/or brighten up your space and life, depending on what pets you have. Common pets in Malaysia are dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits and fish just to name a few. These animals are pretty much domestic and aren't harmful, though certain breeds may be restricted or totally banned. There are also some that may be looking at exotic pets, such as snakes, monkeys and other wildlife. Keeping protected wildlife as pets is actually illegal in Malaysia, so it's best to do your research before getting any pet, especially if you're unsure if the animal you have your eye on is suitable and legal as a pet. Furthermore, you wouldn't want to contribute to the illegal wildlife/exotic pet trade (and animals' extinction!), do you?

What Are Some Of The Illegal Pets In Malaysia?

1) American Pit Bull Terriers

American Pit Bull Terriers are just one type of pit bull-type dogs casually known as "pit bulls". Pit bull-type dogs have garnered a reputation for being and fierce and aggressive, and reports of attacks on humans are met with much hype and concern. However, research and reports differ, as breed alone is not a reliable predictor for aggression and attack. American Pit Bull Terriers were bred to bait bull and bears, and later on they were used in dog fighting, which does not help with their current reputation. Regardless, American Pit Bull Terriers are banned from being imported into Malaysia. 

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2) Sun Bears

Sun bears are the smallest among the family of bears, with a full-grown one capable of growing up to 70 centimetres in height at the shoulder. They are also the bears which live in trees most, and they love to sunbathe in the treetops. As an animal classifed as "vulnerable", it is against the law to possess a sun bear in Malaysia, especially as a pet.

Two sun bears break out of rescue center in Yogyakarta

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3) Leopard Cats

Leopard cats are about the same size as a domestic house cat, but more slender with longer legs. Currently classified as "least concern", it falls under this category as it is threatened by loss of habitat and hunting. Somehow, leopard cats are still being widely distributed, and is still a popular exotic pet choice in many places.  

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4) Dusky Leaf Monkeys

Dusky leaf monkeys are among the most popular primates for pets, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why. One glance at its face, and most would describe it as adorable. Apparently, these monkeys are usually traded as babies, and as we all know, baby animals have their "cute" factor amped up even more. Dusky leaf monkeys are actually hunted for food, and are threatened by loss of habitat. Hunting them for illegal wildlife pet trading isn't helping either.

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5) Mastiff Breeds

Mastiffs are an ancient breed of dogs, and they were originally ferocious war dogs. Today, there are many different breeds of mastiffs, and a fair few of them are banned from import into Malaysia. These mastiff breeds includes the Japanese Mastiff (Tosa Inu), Argentine Mastiff (Dogo Argentina), Brazilian Mastiff (Fila Brasileiro), Canary Mastiff (Perro de Presa Canario) and one of the better known Mastiffs, the Tibetan Mastiff. 

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6) Various Birds

There are many types of birds here in Malaysia, and some of the popular exotic bird species that are favourites as pets include eagles and cockatoos, though there are a number of other birds involved in the illegal wildlife trade as well. Not too long ago, it was reported that a Brahminy Kite (previously known as the red-backed sea-eagle) was caged up to a year in a residential house in Subang Jaya. According to some reports, those involved were fined, but no arrest was made.

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7) Slow Loris

Slow lorises are a group of several species of strepsirrhine primates, and there are many beliefs about their "supernatural" powers, such as to ward off evil spirits or cure wounds. As such, they are hunted for use in traditional medicine, and they are apparently openly sold in animal markets in Southeast Asia, as well as being smuggled to other countries. Thanks in part to their huge, round eyes, they have also been branded as "cute" and therefore are popular as an exotic pet. However, they are not suitable as pets as they are nocturnal and hard to care for in the first place. They also have a toxic bite, and their teeth are often cut or pulled out if they are to be pets.

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8) Various Reptiles

Snakes, iguanas and the such often seem cool as pets, but how many really know how to care for them? Not all reptiles could be illegal, but majority of them are. Apparently there is also a rising trend for crocodiles as pets, though reasons for wanting them as pets are unknown. Many reptiles are already hunted for their skin, and the illegal wildlife trade isn't doing them any favours either.

Iguana on a tree branch

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9) Akita

The Akita is a large dog originating from the mountainous regions of northern Japan. Known to be one of the most dominant breed of dogs, Akitas are generally not suitable for first-time dog owners, and is also branded "dangerous" by some. They are reserved and could be aggressive towards all strangers unless properly trained, which is why it could cause potential issues if not regulated properly.

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10) Asian Palm Civets

Native to South and Southeast Asia, Asian palm civets are hunted not only as exotic pets, but for their production of kopi luwak as well, which involves the animals ingestion and excreting the beans. In some places they are considered a nuisance, as well as suspected to be the carrier of SARS, but still those do not hinder the illegal wildelife trade.

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Note: Certain animals can be owned with a license, but generally it's best to leave wildlife alone. Dog breeds mentioned have laws pertaining to importation, but laws are unclear about breeding in the country itself. 

Interested in aquatic pets? Check out Best Aquatic Pet Shops in KL & Selangor! You can also get healthy pet food delivered to you, or visit some of the Best Pet Grooming Centres in KL & Selangor. Also check out the Best Pet Shops in Kelantan for your pets' needs!