Random Ephemera

6 Surprising Things That Are Legal to Own in Texas. What a State!

Texas has a reputation as a state which places a high value on personal liberty, and it may come as no surprise that it is legal to own some interesting things in the Lone Star State. How interesting? Well, interesting enough to make a person wonder how viable it would be to become a super-villain of some kind, or at least to create one's own zoo. Let's take a look at just a few of the things that are legal for a person to own here:

6. A Military Surplus Tank As far as I can tell, there's no law against shelling out the cash to buy a tank, and there are quite a few websites that specialize in the sale of old armored vehicles to civilians, including tanks. A person who wants to ride around his or her property in a several thousand pound tank can buy them for upwards of $20,000 or so, and let the good times roll! It appears that most of the guns would have to be deactivated in order to keep ownership legal, but an individual who owns a tank can probably just crush anything in his path anyway.

5. A Tiger

This one makes me sad, but it's not that hard to own a tiger in Texas, and let's face it, it should be. There are some estimates that there are more tigers in private hands here than there are running wild in India. As far as I can find, it is legal for a person to own a tiger and other large dangerous wild animals as long as the owner can prove that the animal will be safely caged and taken care of, and he is granted a license to own the animal. Unfortunately, Texas has a bad reputation for enforcement of those meager rules, and it known to be a hotbed for shady tiger sales.

While wild animals aren't legal to own inside Houston itself, and other municipalities have varying ordinances controlling ownership, Texas has few state laws controlling that stuff. So, while it's completely irresponsible for almost anyone to own a tiger, it's possible to buy one for under a grand. Just keep in mind that it will soon grow to be a 500 pound apex predator that eats around 30 pounds of raw meat daily. There's really no valid reason an individual should own one. Go to a shelter and get a striped house cat instead, they'll make a far better pet, and be happier than some poor tiger would be in captivity. They're also a lot less likely to escape and eat the neighbors.

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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.