Health Department records show that more than 24 people in New York were caught will the illegal exotic animals, including stingrays, scorpions, snakes and a sloth, the New York Post reported.
A man from Long Island was caught with the most impressive collection of animals, which included a king snake, lemur, hedgehog, marmoset, sloth, and a coati, a raccoon-type animal, all of which he brought to a child's birthday party in Manhattan's Upper East Side, New York City records show.
City inspectors also found six stingrays in a Queens pet shop, two in a Lower East Side store and a foot-long blue-spot stingray on Staten Island.
A black scorpion, tarantula and a white-faced capuchin monkey were found in Brooklyn's East Flatbush neighborhood.
And a Washington Heights store was caught selling 10 piranhas.
People caught with the illegal critters faced $500 fines for each animal, the newspaper said.