How Much Is A Lion Cub? (Can You Even Buy Them)

There are a lot of exotic pets in the world, whether they are legal or not. Lions are not safe from this either but finding your own pet lion cub is not the same as finding a new puppy.

After all, you can’t just walk into a zoo and expect them to hand over a lion cub for a small adoption fee. 

How Much Is A Lion Cub? (Can You Even Buy Them)

So, if you are wondering what the laws are regarding pet lions here in the US and how much it would cost to buy a lion cub, then this is the place for you! 

We are going to be answering these two questions very shortly so you can learn all you need to know about owning and purchasing your very own lion cub in the US. 

Is It Legal To Own A Pet Lion Cub?

First up, let’s look at the legalities of owning a pet lion cub. 

When it comes to the laws around owning exotic pets, each state has its own laws and these laws are subject to change over the years.

However, a vast amount of US states have laws in place that prevent owning exotic animals as pets – but there are a few that have no bans or regulations when it comes to keeping big cats. 

These states are Alabama, Nevada, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Delaware and Oklahoma. In Delawar and Oklahoma, you do need a state permit in order to keep private ownership of big cats, but the other four states have no such regulations.

This means that in the US, it is only legal to own private exotic big cats as pets in a total of six states. 

Because of this, it is legal to buy and sell lions in the US – permitted that the seller has a license and the buyer has a permit in the right states.

So yes, you can own, buy and sell pet lion cubs in the US as long as you are within a state that has no regulations or has limited regulations on exotic pets. 

How Much Is A Lion Cub?

How Much Is A Lion Cub?

The cost for a lion cub to buy in the US is between $1,500 and $15,000. That is a huge range in price and even the lost possible cost for a lion cub is still a lot of money (way more than it costs to adopt a pooch at your local rescue center). 

So, why the huge range in price? 

The range in cost for a lion cub is usually due to two factors -the sellers themselves and the rarity of the lion cub. 

Some species of lion are more rare than others, and this will definitely drive up the price of a lion cub.

This is especially true if the lion cub is a rare white lion cub or albino – they are incredibly rare so not only are you unlikely to ever be able to see one on the exotic pet market, but the price tag is sure to be astronomical. 

The second factor is the seller, and this is why trading exotic pets in the US is a tricky business to maneuver. 

Basically, some sellers are going to take better care of their lions than others.

If you want to purchase a healthy lion cub, then you will want to go with a seller that has carefully bred their lions and takes great care of them – but this will definitely crank up the asking purchase price. 

However, if you want to save on money, you may end up with a lion cub that is the product of inbreeding, is sick or unhealthy in some way, or comes from a breeder who doesn’t properly take care of their lions.

It’s not uncommon; after all, lions are wild animals that need a lot of care but they’re also way trickier to look after than a domestic cat.

Another problem is that a lot of vets do not know how to care for lions because they are so rare, so trying to find a vet who can properly treat sick lions results in many of them suffering or carrying diseases that pass onto their cubs. 

The Expenses Of Owning A Lion

Buying a lion cub is the easy bit – but looking after it for the rest of its life is the expensive part. 

Lions can live in captivity for twenty years, and the annual expense of caring for a lion can cost thousands of dollars. Insurance alone can range between $1,000 to $15,000 plus you have to take care of safeguarding policies, proper cages, food, vaccinations and more! 

For example, the average cost of a monthly lion cub worming is between $45 to $70, and then annual flea prevention varies between $100 to $250. 

So, before you go rushing to purchase your very own pet lion cub, it’s important that you make sure you can give it a happy home and pay for all its expenses every year for the rest of its life.

Lions are dangerous creatures, so you can’t afford to scrimp and save on proper cages and safety measures – otherwise you could end up in serious legal trouble and may thousands in fines, or even face jail time if your lion got out and caused serious damage. 


So, how much does it cost for a lion cub? 

In the US, you can purchase a lion cub for between $1,000 to $15,000 depending on the rarity of the species and the professionalism of the original seller or breeder.

On top of that, you can expect between $1,000 to $15,000 of yearly insurance bills, and thousands more when it comes to expenses. Food, water, proper cages, habitat cleaning, vet bills – all of these necessary expenses cost hundreds of dollars a year. 

So, even though you may be able to afford to purchase a lion cub, it’s another thing entirely to be able to afford to keep one! 

Joe Edwards