Mute Swans

Asked April 22, 2013, 4:39 PM EDT

Can mute swans be sold in the state of Minnesota? What is your opinion about mute swans?

Ramsey County Minnesota

1 Response

According to the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR; http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialanimals/muteswan/index.html), you will need a state game-farm license to keep mute swans in captivity. They will require fencing, and I'm guessing the state might require the swans be pinioned so they cannot fly. There are contacts for more information at the bottom of the website.

Mute swans are listed as a "regulated invasive species," so it is legal to sell mute swans to someone who has the proper license. It may be good to check with the Minnesota DNR first to make sure everything has been done properly.

As far as my opinion, I have not dealt a lot with these. I believe there are concerns about mute swans competing with native tundra swans for habitat and about them damaging habitat for other waterfowl. Since they are not native, the ecosystem has not evolved with them, so they may overpopulate and cause problems. I think they are beautiful birds, and can be good in a controlled setting, but we probably shouldn't let them escape into the wild.