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.
Applicants for a catch and release reptile licence need to apply to OEH and demonstrate and/or provide:
- they are 18 years or over in age
- why a licence should be granted and describe the location/area where they will operate
- 2 written references from people who can validate their ability and experience
- they hold a current first aid certificate, public liability insurance
- evidence that you have completed a recognised 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 (DOC 49KB)
- Reptile catch and release licence conditions – example (PDF 30KB)
- Hygiene protocol for the control of disease in snakes (PDF 1MB)
Removing a snake from your home or garden
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.