So, maybe you don't want to be EXACTLY like Joe Exotic - you just want to own a tiger cub. Or not. Just in case you're wondering (I was), there are laws in Michigan preventing a lot of the crazy stuff you may have seen while watching "Tiger King" on Netflix.

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In fact, according to the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development, you CAN own big cats in Michigan. Well, not you. You have to have owned them for the past 20 years. According to the Michigan DNR's FAQ site about cougars:

Are there pet cougars or exotic big cats like leopards and African lions in Michigan?
A few people who owned cougars or large cats prior to 2000 are still permitted to own these animals. It has been illegal to own a cougar or large exotic cats such as African lions, leopards, and jaguars, in Michigan since 2000. No new permits are being issued. The DNR occasionally receives reports of illegally owned large pet cats including cougars, and has confiscated these animals. 

However, even if you did own a big cat, legally, in Michigan, if you wanted to have cute tiger cubs - you'd have to have a Michigan Large Carnivore Breeding License, which states that you:

  • Not sell large carnivores, except to another entity also meeting all criteria.
  • Not allow the public direct contact with large carnivores.

So, no. You will not be the next "Tiger King", as long as you live in Michigan. You'll have to move to Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Delaware, or (of course) Oklahoma. And that info came from That's right - Carole Baskin.

Animals You Can't Own in Michigan

Animals You CAN Own in Michigan

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