A biodiversity conservation licence can be granted under Part 2 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 that allows handlers to legally catch and release reptiles (usually snakes) from commercial and residential homes and backyards. Reptile handlers operate under strict licence conditions to ensure human safety and animal welfare.
To apply for a catch and release reptile licence, you need to:
- complete the reptile catch and release licence application form (PDF 79KB)
- prove you are 18 years or over in age
- explain why a licence should be granted and describe the location/area where you will operate
- provide 2 written references from people who can validate your ability and experience
- demonstrate that you hold a current first aid certificate and public liability insurance
- prove that you have completed a practical reptile handling course or have at least 2 years proven experience in handling venomous snakes.
Licence conditions and application forms
- Reptile catch and release licence application form (PDF 79KB)
- Reptile catch and release licence conditions – example (PDF 38KB)
- Hygiene protocol for the control of disease in snakes (PDF 1MB)
The safest thing to do is not to try and handle or kill the snake. Keep children and pets well away. Contact a local reptile handler or wildlife rehabilitation group. They will remove the snake from your home or garden.
You can find contact details below for licensed operators who have agreed to make their contact information available to the public.