West Virginia is cracking down on dangerous and exotic pets, pointing to a 2011 incident when an Ohio man released 18 tigers and other large carnivores from a private preserve.
"We have literally no idea what's out there, in terms of exotic wildlife being held in private possession," says Paul Johansen, a game manager for West Virginia's Division of Natural Resources, to the AP.
Through a law passed earlier this year, officials are determining which species are too dangerous to own as pets. Not only are these exotic pets dangerous, but large carnivores are often kept in a fraction of the space they need -- the Humane Society estimates that only 400 out of about 5,000 tigers in the U.S. are even kept in accredited zoos, and a big cat in the wild can cover more than 200 square miles of territory in search of prey.
The West Virginia ban will certainly include lions, tigers and other large predators, Johansen says, but the future of monkeys and snakes is still questionable.