Frog keeper licences

Some native frogs bred in captivity can be kept as pets in New South Wales, as long as you have a licence.

Green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea) also named the green bell frog, green and golden swamp frog and green frogNative frogs and amphibians are protected by law so if you want to keep one as a pet you’ll need a biodiversity conservation licence granted under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 from the Office of Environment and Heritage (National Parks and Wildlife Service).

The only non-native (exotic) amphibian that can be kept as a pet without a licence is the axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum. All other non-native frogs and amphibians cannot be kept as pets because they may become invasive and spread disease. 

Protecting native frogs

It’s against the law (Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016) to take frogs or tadpoles from the wild or release unwanted ones.

Taking animals from the wild, or even your backyard, can cause local extinctions. Dumped frogs can spread disease and starve to death or be killed by other animals.

Pet native frogs must be bought from licensed animal keepers.

Licensing helps us:

  • protect our unique native frog species and their ecosystems
  • keep animals safe
  • abide by NSW laws.

Tadpoles in schools

NSW schools have been licensed to allow students and teachers to collect and keep up to 20 tadpoles.

Tadpoles must not be collected from national parks or other reserves.

When tadpoles have turned into froglets they must be released at the place where they were collected. The Department of Education has advice about collecting frogs and handling them in the classroom.

Get the right licence

Native frog species that can be kept as pets are classed as Companion, A1 and/or A2. Each class requires a different type of biodiversity conservation licence. The right type of licence for you will depend on how many frogs you want to keep and what type of frog you want.

Type of licence needed

Companion Animal Keeper Licence

With this licence you can keep one native frog that has been bred in captivity as a pet. If you want to buy and keep more than one frog you will need to change to a Native Animal Keeper Licence. Animals covered by the Companion Animal Keeper Licence have basic keeping requirements and are readily available in captivity.

Who can apply

  • people aged 16 years and over
  • parent or guardian of children under 16.

Which frogs can be kept

Choose your frog

Buy your frog

Licence cost and duration

  • costs $50, less for pensioners
  • lasts 5 years before needing renewal.

Apply

  • online
  • by telephone with the NSW Government Licensing Service: 13 77 88.

Please allow enough time for your application to be assessed. You will be contacted if further information is needed to complete the assessment.

Record keeping

  • keep a record of when you buy your frog (including supplier’s details, your details and date of purchase) to demonstrate that it has been legally obtained.
  • you do not have to submit records to the Office of Environment and Heritage for animals kept under a Companion Animal Keeper Licence.

Conditions

Renewals

Type of licence needed

Native Animal Keeper Licence, A1 Basic Amphibian

With this licence you can keep more than one frog bred in captivity as a pet. You can also add another class of animal if you want to keep a bird or other kind of native animal as a pet.

After 2 years of keeping frogs you may be able to upgrade to an advanced licence (for species that are less common or harder to look after).

Who can apply

  • people aged 16 years and over
  • parent or guardian of children under 16.

Which frogs can be kept

Choose your frog

Buy your frog

Licence cost and duration

  • $63 per class for 2 years
  • discounts available for pensioners and online applications.

Apply

  • online
  • by telephone with the NSW Government Licensing Service: 13 77 88.

Please allow enough time for your application to be assessed. You will be contacted if further information is needed to complete the assessment.

Record keeping

  • keep an electronic record book
  • record when you buy your frog(s) (including supplier’s details, your details and date of purchase), plus all births, deaths and disposals
  • lodge records with OEH in April each year.

Conditions

Renewals

To upgrade your licence to a more advanced licence you must:

  • be aged 18 years or over
  • have already owned a frog under the Companion or Basic Amphibian (A1) licence for at least 2 years.

Class A2 licence

There are 29 native frogs classed as A2 animals. These frogs are rare or more difficult to keep than the more common Companion or A1 class frogs. They are not traded by pet shops and can only be obtained from specialist frog breeders.

See frogs marked A2 in the NSW Native Animal Keepers’ Species List.

Licence upgrade cost and duration

  • $120 per class for 2 years
  • discounts available for pensioners
  • lodging your application does not guarantee approval of an advanced class licence, further information may be requested by Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

Apply

Please allow enough time for your application to be assessed. You will be contacted if further information is needed to complete the assessment.

Record keeping

  • keep an electronic record book or paper record about your animal/s
  • record when you buy your bird(s) (including the supplier’s details, your details and date of purchase), plus all births, deaths and disposals
  • lodge records with OEH in April each year.

Conditions

Renewals