Nature conservation

Wildlife licences

Reptile keeper's licence

All lizards, snakes and turtles are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and it is against the law to take them from the wild. You can get a licence from the NPWS to keep captive-bred reptiles as pets.

The following webpages explain the very basic points about keeping reptiles as pets in NSW, including enforceable standards on how to care for them properly.

Please note that non-native exotic reptile species such as corn snakes and red-eared slider turtles are not permitted to be kept as pets in NSW.

  • Obtaining a reptile keeper's licence - Find out what sort of licence you'll need, and how much it will cost. Download licence application forms.
  • Buying and caring for reptiles - Once you have a licence, you can buy reptiles - but only from other licence holders. It's a good idea to join a herpetological society to benefit from the experience of others.
  • Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Reptiles - This code of practice is intended for anyone licensed by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to keep reptiles as pets. It has been designed to contribute to the welfare of the reptiles in captivity. It is a condition of the licence to comply with the requirements of the code.
  • Hygiene protocol for the control of disease in captive snakes (hygieneProtocolSnakes.pdf, 1.0MB) - A number of diseases of reptiles, particularly snakes, could pose a serious risk in Australia if they were able to spread from captive animals into the wild. This protocol aims to reduce this risk and has practical guidelines for anyone involved in keeping reptiles.

More information

Contact the OEH Wildlife Licensing and Management Unit for any further information.

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Page last updated: 25 March 2013