Only animals native to Australia can be kept in Australia. In order to keep reptiles and amphibians in NSW you need to have the appropriate NSW licence to keep that animal. Each State’s list of keepable animals varies. In NSW you can keep animals native to other States of Australia, so long as they are on the list of keepable species for NSW AND you acquire an import licence to bring the animal in from another state. Bear in mind that species from other States may have varying and significant differences in temperature and humidity needs, etc. To check if the species you want to keep is permitted in NSW, check the NSW Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment (DPIE)’s NSW Native Animal Keepers Species List
Please note that animals have different classes of licence. While Class 1 licences can be obtained instantly online after a credit card payment, Class 2 and above may require that you have kept a Class 1 animal from the same group of animals for a year, or have other requirements needing to be met in order to obtain a licence and it may take two weeks or more for DPIE to process an application after it is emailed to them. See details on our HerpLicensing and Acquisition page.
If you attend one of our Expos (typically in March), all animals sold there will be animals you can keep in NSW. It is best to have an idea of which animal you wish to acquire before going to an expo, however, as you will need to make sure that you have the appropriate licence before you can purchase the animal, and it would be best if you plan ahead for all that would be needed to keep and maintain this animal, and decide whether you are prepared for its needs. These animals are a serious commitment and we have a duty of care to their quality of life. That said, many of these animals make awesome pets! Please do the research on animals of interest and make sure they meet your keeping desires – handleability, on-going costs, husbandry needs, etc.
As stated above, it is necessary to have the appropriate licence to keep reptiles and amphibians in NSW. For more information and links on licences and acquisition of reptiles and amphibians, see our HerpLicensing and Acquisition page. It is also a requirement of the NSW Department of Planning Industry, and Environment (DPIE) that keepers report information annually to DPIE on the animals they are keeping. This can be done online or via hardcopy – again see our HerpLicensing and Acquisition page. In addition to licensing, DPIE provides guidelines for minimal care of your animals in their Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Reptiles document, which includes such things as minimum enclosure sizes, etc.
The above document will serve as a beginning guide for animal care, but when choosing an animal please exhaust all methods of acquiring the best information on how to care for that species, including books, information online, and information from other keepers and breeders – please do not take one source as all the information you need!
For courses in beginning reptile care, Kellyville Pets offers Masterclasses on Bearded Dragons, Pythons, Turtles, or Frogs. Due to Covid, these once in-person classes have become online informational sessions. See their website for more information: https://www.kellyvillepets.com.au/pages/reptile-masterclasses
There are also many courses on offer from different institutions for people wanting to gain education in herpetology, zoology, wildlife training, snakehandling, venomous snake husbandry, and many other avenues of learning. Search online for available courses near you.
Advice on Keeping can be found in a number of places:
- Quality books on reptiles and amphibians (see our library or buy in store/online);
- Personal experience stories from other keepers;
- Website Caresheets, blogs, and informational websites;
- YouTube videos; and
- HHS Meetings
As stated above, it is best to seek numerous sources and not take one source as all you need. Some websites, YouTube videos, or even well-intentioned keeper advice can lead you astray, so confirm your information with various sources.
Sydney Exotics and Rabbit Vets
Penrith Veterinary Hospital (Note: Robert Johnson has retired)