Administrative Code

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 15. Department of Wildlife Resources
Chapter 20. Definitions and Miscellaneous: In General

4VAC15-20-50. Definitions; "wild animal," "native animal," "naturalized animal," "nonnative (exotic) animal," and "domestic animal".

A. In accordance with § 29.1-100 of the Code of Virginia, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them by this section when used in regulations of the board:

"Native animal" means those species and subspecies of animals naturally occurring in Virginia, as included in the department's 2022 "List of Native and Naturalized Fauna of Virginia," with copies available in the headquarters and regional offices of the department.

"Naturalized animal" means those species and subspecies of animals not originally native to Virginia that have established wild, self-sustaining populations, as included in the department's 2022 "List of Native and Naturalized Fauna of Virginia," with copies available in the headquarters and regional offices of the department.

"Nonnative (exotic) animal" means those species and subspecies of animals not naturally occurring in Virginia, excluding domestic and naturalized species.

The following animals are defined as domestic animals:

Domestic dog (Canis familiaris), including wolf hybrids.

Domestic cat (Felis catus), including hybrids with wild felines.

Domestic horse (Equus caballus), including hybrids with Equus asinus.

Domestic ass, burro, and donkey (Equus asinus).

Domestic cattle (Bos taurus and Bos indicus).

Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) including hybrids with wild sheep.

Domestic goat (Capra hircus).

Domestic swine (Sus scrofa), including pot-bellied pig and excluding any swine that are wild or for which no claim of ownership can be made.

Llama (Lama glama).

Alpaca (Lama pacos).

Camels (Camelus bactrianus and Camelus dromedarius).

Domesticated races of hamsters (Mesocricetus spp.).

Domesticated races of mink (Mustela vison) where adults are heavier than 1.15 kilograms or their coat color can be distinguished from wild mink.

Domesticated races of guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus).

Domesticated races of gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus).

Domesticated races of chinchillas (Chinchilla laniger).

Domesticated races of rats (Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus).

Domesticated races of mice (Mus musculus).

Domesticated breeds of European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc. and any lineage resulting from crossbreeding recognized breeds. A list of recognized rabbit breeds is available on the department's website.

Domesticated races of chickens (Gallus).

Domesticated races of turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo).

Domesticated races of ducks and geese distinguishable morphologically from wild birds.

Feral pigeons (Columba domestica and Columba livia) and domesticated races of pigeons.

Domesticated races of guinea fowl (Numida meleagris).

Domesticated races of peafowl (Pavo cristatus).

"Wild animal" means any member of the animal kingdom, except domestic animals, including without limitation any native, naturalized, or nonnative (exotic) mammal, fish, bird, amphibian, reptile, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod, or other invertebrate, and includes any hybrid of them, except as otherwise specified in regulations of the board, or part, product, egg, or offspring of them, or the dead body or parts of them.

B. Exception for red foxes and European rabbits. Domesticated red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) having coat colors distinguishable from wild red foxes and wild European rabbits possessed in captivity on July 1, 2017, may be maintained in captivity until the animal dies, but the animal may not be bred or sold without a permit from the department. Persons possessing domesticated red foxes or European rabbits without a permit from the department must declare such possession in writing to the department by January 1, 2018. This written declaration must include the number of individual animals in possession and date acquired, sex, estimated age, coloration, and a photograph of each fox or European rabbit. This written declaration shall (i) serve as a permit for possession only, (ii) is not transferable, and (iii) must be renewed every five years.

Statutory Authority

§§ 29.1-103, 29.1-501, and 29.1-502 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR325-01-1 § 5, eff. July 15, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 12, Issue 4, eff. January 1, 1996; Volume 17, Issue 6, eff. January 1, 2001; Volume 24, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2008; Volume 27, Issue 10, eff. January 1, 2011; Volume 29, Issue 9, eff. January 1, 2013; Volume 31, Issue 9, eff. January 1, 2015; Volume 31, Issue 25, eff. August 1, 2015; Volume 33, Issue 24, eff. August 1, 2017; Volume 35, Issue 2, eff. January 1, 2019; Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 2019; Volume 37, Issue 7, eff. January 1, 2021; Volume 39, Issue 9, eff. January 1, 2023.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.