Mammal keeper licence

Two species of native mammal can be kept as pets in NSW as long as they have been bred in captivity and you have a licence.

Spinifex Hopping Mouse (Notomys alexis)All native mammals, including marsupials like kangaroos, possums and quolls, are protected by law in New South Wales.

You can keep only 2 species of native mammal as pets: spinifex hopping-mouse and plains rat. You will need a biodiversity conservation licence granted under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (National Parks and Wildlife Service).

The department often receives enquires about keeping dingoes as pets. Wild dingoes are protected within lands managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (for example, national parks). However, under the Companion Animal Act 1998, dingoes and dingo hybrids bred in captivity can be kept legally as pets in New South Wales. There are restrictions in some areas.

If you want to keep a dingo as a pet contact your local government authority. The Office of Local Government provides information for dingo owners.

Protecting native mammals

It’s against the law (Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016) to take native mammals from the wild or release them to the wild.

Taking animals from the wild, or even your backyard, can cause local extinctions. Illegal killing and trapping has contributed to the decline of many native Australian mammal species. Released mammals can also spread disease or may suffer from starvation or predation.

Licensing helps us:

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

Get your licence

The type of biodiversity conservation licence you need to keep native mammals as pets is the Native Animal Keeper Licence. The 2 mammal species that can be kept under this licence are classed as M1 animals.

Type of licence needed

Native Animal Keeper Licence, M1 Basic Mammal

With this licence you can keep one or more spinifex hopping-mouse or plains rat that has been bred in captivity as a pet. You can also add another class of animal if you want to keep a frog, bird or other kind of native animal as a pet.

Spinifex hopping-mice and plains rats have basic keeping requirements and are readily available in captivity from licensed animal keepers.

Who can apply

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

Which animals can be kept

Choose your mammal

Buy your mammal

  • go to a licensed mammal keeper
  • licensed mammal keepers are not allowed to buy and sell animals as a commercial activity, but they can sell the excess mammals they breed to other licence holders
  • if you purchase an animal from an interstate licensed mammal keeper you must hold a NSW Native Animal Keeper Licence and you must obtain a licence to transport animals interstate from the department before you can legally bring it into New South Wales.

Licence cost and duration

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


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 animals
  • record when you buy your mammals (including the supplier’s details, your details and date of purchase), plus all births, deaths and disposals
  • lodge records in April each year.


  • licences include binding conditions; for example, mammals must be kept at residential premises and cannot be used for display.