The Code of practice for the private keeping of reptiles 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 has been prepared in consultation with herpetological societies, veterinarians, exhibitors and researchers and is supported by the NSW Animal Welfare Advisory Council of the Department of Primary Industries.
The Code contains both standards and guidelines for keeping pet reptiles. Compliance with the standards in the Code is a condition of all OEH animal keepers' licences and companion animal keepers' licences.
OEH staff undertake regular audits of reptile keepers to assess compliance with the Code.
The Code is divided into the following eight sections:
- enclosure construction details standards for building outdoor and indoor enclosures as well as special requirements for housing dangerously venomous snakes.
- enclosure sizes establishes minimum spatial requirements for reptiles based on their size and behaviour. Keepers have until March 2014 to ensure their enclosures comply with these requirements.
- enclosure environment includes standards for temperature, ventilation, humidity, lighting and UV light requirements.
- enclosure furnishing has standards for substrate provision and furniture such as hides.
- food, water and cleaning details standards for food and water provision and hygiene.
- transport has standards on containers for transporting reptiles.
- quarantine has guidelines on measures to reduce the risks of disease transmission between reptiles.
- record keeping details information that may assist in identifying health issues.