Animal dealer (live reptile) licence

Find out how to apply for a licence to buy, sell or trade in live native reptiles.

You need an animal dealer (live reptile) licence, a class of biodiversity conservation licence granted under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, to buy, sell or trade (deal in) live native reptiles for commercial purposes.

Under the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water policy on the commercial trade of native animals, only pet shops are eligible for an animal dealer licence. A pet shop is defined as a premises used for the retail sale of animals to the public, excluding residential premises. The dealing of native reptiles as part of a commercial business is not permitted under a reptile keeper licence.

Pet shops dealing in native reptiles must be registered with the department – when you apply for a licence you must nominate the premises you intend to use for dealing. If you are granted a licence, you will receive a registration certificate for each of the premises associated with your licence. As a licence holder, you may also apply for additional registration certificates for temporary stalls at approved reptile expos.

Under an animal dealer (live reptile) licence, pet shops may only deal in a limited number of reptile species. View the reptile species that can be traded by an animal dealer.

As part of the application process, you will be required to demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills in keeping the native reptiles that can be traded. The native reptiles to be traded at your pet shop must be kept in the care of at least one person who has at least 3 years relevant experience with the reptile species being traded.

Apply for a licence

Getting an animal dealer (live reptile) licence and registration certificate for your premises involves a 3-step application process:

  • complete an application form
  • complete a written knowledge test
  • have your proposed premises inspected.

The application process will take at least 6 weeks at a minimum. This timeframe is dependent on you satisfactorily completing the application form, written test and having your premises at a standard suitable for trade.

The licence term is 3 years and licence will cost $2400 including a single registered premises – there is a $780 fee for each additional premises to be registered under the licence.

To begin the licence application process, download, complete and submit the animal dealer (live reptile) licence application form (PDF 94KB).

You must provide:

  • information about your previous native animal keeping licence history
  • evidence about your skills and experience in reptile identification, husbandry and handling
  • a floor plan of your proposed premises outlining the location of your reptile enclosures, off-display areas, food preparation and storage areas
  • diagrams of the types of reptile enclosures used, their dimensions and other key features needed to adequately look after the reptile species you wish to sell
  • standard operating procedures for monitoring, feeding and general care of reptiles
  • the details of each person employed at the premises who will operate under the licence.

If you own a pet shop but haven't installed any enclosures yet, you can still apply for a licence if you provide a floor plan and diagrams of your proposed reptile enclosures. If your application receives provisional approval, you will need to have the reptile enclosures installed and operational at the time of the premises inspection. You will be allowed a maximum of 3 months from the time your application is provisionally approved to the time of inspection.

If your initial application is successful, you will have up to 1 week to complete a short, written test to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the:

  • regulatory framework for keeping and trading in native animals
  • reptiles permitted to be traded under a native reptile dealer licence, and their husbandry requirements.

To prepare for the regulatory section of the test, you should read the:

To prepare for the husbandry section of the test, you will require a basic understanding of reptile husbandry, particularly for the species permitted to be traded in a pet shop. There are a number of good books and care sheets on keeping Australian reptiles.

In the final section of the test, you will have to correctly identify a number of tradeable and non-tradeable species from photographs. Field guide books or reptile keeping books are a good source of information on identifying features for different species.

Once you have completed the test and been assessed as competent to hold an animal dealer (live reptile) dealer licence, Wildlife Team officers will inspect the premises (pet shop) at which you propose to commercially trade in reptiles.

Prior to the granting of a licence and premises registration certificate, Wildlife Team officers will contact you to organise a joint inspection of the premises at which you intend to commercially trade in native reptiles to ensure it meets the requirements.

If you consider your premises to be ready for trade, the inspection can occur within a week or 2 from being contacted. If not, you have up to 3 months to prepare your pet shop for trade.

Comply with licence conditions

When you hold a licence to deal in native animals you must comply with the conditions of the animal dealer (live reptile) licence (PDF 72KB).

Some of the licence conditions included are:

  • Animals may only be bought from persons licensed to keep them.
  • When selling species that require a keeper's licence, the customer's licence must be sighted and their details recorded.
  • Records of all animals held must be maintained and submitted to the Wildlife Team on an annual basis, including records of:
    • the species and number of animals acquired, disposed of or moved
    • the date and method of acquisition, disposal or movement of animals
    • the name and licence number of persons from whom animals are bought or sold.
  • Dealers must accept returns of unwanted or unhealthy animals no longer wanted by a customer. This requirement must be displayed at each registered premises in a conspicuous location.
  • Dealers must comply with the enclosure size and equipment requirements specified on their licence.
  • Dealers must maintain a register of persons employed at the pet shop operating under the licence, including, at all times, a person or persons with 3 years relevant experience for the species authorised to trade under the licence.

Licensed dealers must also comply with the Department of Primary Industries Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Animals in Pet Shops issued under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 and subject to inspections by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

Licensed dealers should also be familiar with the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water Code of practice for the private keeping of reptiles.


On the expiration of your licence the onus is on you to renew. While the department forwards licence renewal notices to licensees, it will not be responsible for the non-receipt of such a notice.

Renewals cost $2050 (including a single registered premises) for 3 years with a $450 fee for each additional premises. Renewal of your licence is dependent upon submission of your annual records.

Species that can be traded by licensed reptile dealers

The commercial trade of native animals policy allows 15 reptile species to be traded by licensed animal dealers.

 Species  Common name
Nephrurus levis levis Smooth knob-tail gecko
Pogona henrylawsoni Black-soil bearded dragon
Pogona vitticeps Central bearded dragon
Tiliqua scincoides Common bluetongue
Underwoodisaurus milii Thick-tailed gecko
Antaresia childreni Children's python
Antaresia maculosa Eastern small-blotched python
Morelia bredli Centralian carpet python
Morelia spilota cheynei Jungle carpet python
Morelia spilota imbricata Western carpet python
Morelia spilota mcdowelli Eastern carpet python
Morelia spilota metcalfei Murray/Darling carpet python
Morelia spilota variegata Top end carpet python
Chelodina longicollis Eastern snake-necked turtle
Emydura macquarii Murray short-necked turtle

Other licence types you may need

As a licensed animal dealer, if you intend to import native reptiles into New South Wales or export them out of the state as part of carrying on your business as a dealer, you will need to apply for an import/export licence each time you intend to transport a consignment interstate.

Licensed animal dealers in New South Wales

There are currently 9 pet shops in New South Wales licensed to deal in live native reptiles.