Only animals native to Australia can be kept in Australia and in order to keep reptiles and amphibians in NSW you need to have the appropriate NSW licence to keep that animal. If you want to bring an animal from another State into NSW, you will also need to acquire an import licence. Animals have different classes of licence, based on their scarcity (whether endangered), difficulty of care (experience needed), and danger risk (venomosity), etc. 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 the NSW Department of Planning Industry, and Environment (DPIE) to process an application. Breeders/sellers are not permitted to sell an animal to someone without the appropriate licence, so this will need to be sought in advance of acquiring an animal.
To check if the species you want to keep is permitted in NSW and to find out which licence type it falls under, check the NSW Department of Planning Industry, and Environment (DPIE)’s NSW Native Animal Keepers Species List
To keep captive bred reptiles and frogs as pets in NSW you will need a keepers licence. To apply online and get more basic information on what is required for each licence, visit the NSW Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment page on Wildlife Licences.
It is necessary to report annual information on the animals you keep to DPIE, including what numbers of each species you acquire or dispose of (sell, give away, etc) during the year. This can now be done online through the NSW Native Animal Keeper Electronic Record Keeping System
To take a look at the information from DPIE on their requirements for the care of reptiles, check out their Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Reptiles
There are several ways to acquire reptiles and amphibians.
Reptile Expos – Here we must include a shameless plug for our Penrith Reptile Expos, held annually, usually around March. Expos are a fantastic way to see what’s out there and acquire a new animal(s) and become addicted to herp keeping, like the rest of us. If the animal you want is not available there, you may be able to meet a breeder there through which you can acquire a desired animal on a later date.
Breeders – Acquiring animals through breeders with experience in keeping and breeding particular species is a preferred method of acquisition. It is beneficial to know the history of your animal and be able to ask follow-up husbandry questions. Breeders can be found via word of mouth at our Society Meetings, at Expos, or through Facebook, Youtube, and other websites/sources.
Rehoming Days – Animals that need to be passed on from previous owners can sometimes be acquired more cheaply at rehoming events. These are sometimes held at expos or at pet stores. This is a great way to provide these animals with a better life.
Pet Stores – Some pet stores, like Extreme Pets, Pets Warehouse, Kellyville Pets, and Macarthur Pets, sell limited species of reptiles and amphibians. You can check your local pet stores.
Websites Selling Animals – Breeders (and those wishing to rehome their current pets) may have their own websites or go on group classifieds sites. Use these sites with caution. Try to find reputable breeders and be wary of paying money up-front. Ensure the animals appear healthy in person before you purchase and take these animals home.
Reptiles are a big commitment and care should be taken to ensure you are ready for what is required and for the temperament of these animals before purchases are made. That said, sometimes situations arise where people need to pass on their reptiles to new homes. There are some options for this, but remember these animals require a lot of tank/enclosure space, care, heat, food, etc, so resources for taking in unwanted pets are limited.
Methods for rehoming:
HHS Wishlist – If you would like to sell or give away a licenced animal that you are able to care for in the meantime, HHS members can advertise their animals in the HHS Broadhead newsletter. Contact Frances Stopford via our Contacts page to advertise an animal in the newsletter. Note: HHS does not have the resources to take in your animal, so the best we can do is advertise to other members while you maintain care of the animal.
Online Classifieds and Facebook – There are various websites where you can advertise your animal. You can also join Facebook reptile or amphibian groups and make a call out there, if that is permissible in that group.
Emergency Rehoming – If you find yourself in a situation where you are in urgent need to pass on an animal there are a few avenues you can try.
WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service) primarily deals with rescuing injured or orphaned wildlife, but in some circumstances they will take your animal as a ‘Surrender Case’ wherein you surrender your animal to them. This is if the safety or immediate welfare of the animal is in question, including such instances as someone moving and being unable to take the animal with them, cases where people who are not reptile keepers suddenly become responsible for someone else’s animal, etc. Contact WIRES on 1300 094 737 to enquire regarding the applicability of your situation.