The answer to this question depends on where you live. If you are in the US, then yes, Giant African Millipedes are legal to own as pets (all species of millipede are in fact). However, it is not legal to import them into the country. In fact, importing any non-native species of millipede into the US is illegal.
If you are in Canada though, then unfortunately you will be out of luck. Like the US, Canada has banned the import of all non-native millipede species but has also banned even owning or selling them as well. Native species are still legal though (such as Narceus americanus).
If you live anywhere else, you are likely in the clear, but be sure to check your local laws before trying to acquire any of these creatures.
Also, it should really go without saying, but nothing here should be considered legal advice, and none of it was written by a lawyer. If you have legal questions of any sort, you should probably go talk to a lawyer.
Why are Giant African Millipedes Illegal?
You may be wondering why on earth would importing giant millipedes be banned in the US and Canada. They aren’t dangerous, and don’t seem to pose any threat to anyone. They aren’t endangered, so there’s little potential for harm to wild populations and their ecosystems. So, what’s the problem then? Well, it’s actually not the millipedes themselves that are the problem.
Instead, the issue lies with mites that are often found on the large African Species. These mites coexist with the millipedes in a symbiotic relationship, helping to keep their large bodies clean and free of parasites and debris.
There was concern though that these mites could end up becoming a terrible invasive species problem and wreak havoc on agricultural crops. And so for this reason, importing them was banned, along with all species of millipede not native to the US, whether they were known to carry mites or not.
Can you buy African Giant Millipedes?
If you’re in the US, despite the import ban, yes, you can still legally buy and own African Giant Millipedes, but only from domestic sellers. You must purchase them from someone who acquired them before the ban and is now breeding/selling them domestically.
Unfortunately though, as of the time of this writing, actually finding a Giant African Millipede for sale can be pretty difficult. Both of the giant African species (Archispirostreptus gigas and Spiropoeus fischeri) are very difficult to come by online. They are reportedly difficult to breed, and with no new supply coming in due to the import ban, chances to buy them domestically here in the US are very limited (and generally fairly expensive).
You may be able to find giant African millipedes for sale from illegal sources on the black market, but you would be advised to stay far away from this. Trying to import these creatures illegally could result in fines or even jail time.
Additionally, buying from these black market sources means you are supporting the illegal pet trade. The same people who are illegally selling millipedes may also be selling other animals that are critically endangered, so supporting them in any way could harm these creatures and the natural ecosystems in which they live.
If you want to buy a giant millipede species that isn’t legal to import, just be patient and wait until you are able to find them for sale legally from a reputable, responsible, domestic breeder.