The sale of live non-native animals has become a social norm and is of global concern. The pet trade industry has become one of the main pathways where non-native small mammals are introduced worldwide. We conducted a questionnaire survey in South African pet shops from September 2018 to September 2019 to gain insights into non-native small mammalian species trade in South Africa. We also investigated whether the pet shop owners were aware of the South African National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEM: BA; No. 10 of 2004), which regulates and provides management and conservation of the country's biodiversity. A total of 111 pet shop owners/managers responded to the survey, with 26.6% of the owners reporting the sale of birds, 25.1% of fish and 22.5% of mammals. A total of 16 non-native small mammalian species were reported sold, with European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Norwegian rats (Rattus norvegicus) and house mice (Mus musculus) being the most commonly sold pets. We found that breeders, animal rescues and pet shops were the major suppliers of small mammal pets, and in terms of the regulation, most respondents (67.8%) were aware of NEM: BA. However, despite the knowledge of the regulations, some of the traded species pose a serious invasion threat. As a result, we recommend increased regulation, monitoring and public awareness to prevent the potential negative impacts associated with non-native mammal species in South Africa.