New rules allow pet shops to sell reptiles

The NSW Government will make it easier for animal lovers to keep snakes, turtles and lizards as pets with new rules that will allow pet stores to sell some species of reptiles for the first time.

Blue-tongued lizard (Tiliqua scincoides)

Environment Minister Robyn Parker said the new rules, which brings NSW in line with other mainland states, would make it easier for people to find and select reptiles as a pet, ensure keepers receive information about keeping them healthy and provide greater transparency about where and how reptiles are being sold.

“There are more than 16,800 licensed reptile keepers in NSW, which shows just how popular they have become as pets,” Ms Parker said.

“Until now they have only been able to buy pets online or at reptile expos but not at reputable and well established pets stores. This can be a baffling process for people wanting to take up the hobby.

“The new rules will allow pet stores to sell five species of lizard, eight types of python and two turtle species, including bearded dragons, geckos and carpet pythons.

“Eligible pet shops will be able to provide prospective keepers with all the information and equipment they need to keep their reptiles happy and healthy.

“Pet shops will also be required to provide a life time re-homing guarantee for the reptiles they sell to make sure that a keeper can always return an unwanted animal to the shop if necessary.”

Ms Parker said pet shops will need a Fauna Dealer’s licence to sell reptiles, a condition designed to ensure reptiles are kept in a suitable habitat and that the pet store will provide the right advice and information to people buying reptiles as pets.

A code of practice has been developed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to help people provide the right standard of care for their reptile pets. This will be provided at point of sale in pet shops and online.

Pet shops will also be assessed by the NPWS to ensure they will provide the right level of care, hygiene and education for would-be keepers, including a reptile identification test.

“There are people of all ages and walks of life who have found a passion for keeping reptiles as pets, from children right through to older people. People who love them say reptiles are absolutely fascinating to observe and live with and with the correct choice and the right care thrive as pets.

“However they do have unique needs. By making sure people are given clear advice and help to develop a long term relationship with their local pet shop, these changes will provide more assurance that native reptiles are cared for properly.”

Ms Parker said only the identified native species could be bought or sold through pet shops.

For more information about the new rules and how to keep reptiles as pets in NSW.

Fact Sheet

When will the new rules come into effect?

The new rules are now in effect.

What reptiles can be kept as pets in NSW?

  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Turtles
  • Central Bearded dragon
  • Children's python
  • Eastern Snake-necked turtle
  • Black-soil Bearded dragon
  • Spotted python
  • Murray Short-necked turtle
  • Common blue-tongue lizard
  • Centralian Carpet python
  • Smooth Knob-tailed gecko
  • Eastern Carpet python
  • Thick-tailed gecko
  • Jungle Carpet python
  • Murray-Darling Carpet python
  • Top-end Carpet python
  • Western Carpet python

Can I buy reptiles from any pet shop?

Pet shops will need a Fauna Dealer’s licence to sell reptiles in NSW. This will ensure reptiles are kept in suitable conditions and that the pet store will provide the right advice and information to people buying reptiles as pets. Pet stores will be inspected and assessed by NPWS before a licence is issued.

Do people still need a licence to keep a reptile?

Yes. They can now be obtained online at http://www.onegov.nsw.gov.au/New/Categories/parks-wildlife