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In NSW, to look after a reptiles, including frogs, you must have a NSW reptile keepers’ licence from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

There are two types of licences: one that allows you to keep most common species that are relatively easy to look after, including turtles, some lizards and pythons, and another that allows you to keep venomous snakes and rare animals such as lace monitors and frilled lizards.

You need to be over 16 years of age for the first licence, and over 18 with demonstrated experience in caring for reptiles for the second licence. Fees apply for both licences and you must lodge records of your animal's care annually. For more information visit the NSW Environment and Heritage page.

Reputable pet shops (those displaying their own reptile licence) will not sell reptiles to people without a reptile licence.


The OEH has developed a Code of Practice for keeping reptiles which covers:

  • '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 temperament. Keepers had until March 2014 to ensure their enclosures complied 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.

Download the code on the Environment and Heritage page.


Herpetological Society

If you are thinking of keeping reptiles as pets, it is best to contact your local reptile organisation (known as a herpetological society) so you can learn from its members about what is involved in keeping reptiles before you apply for a licence.

Wild reptile care

If you have found a sick or injured reptile, please contact your local wildlife rehabilitation group such as WIRES. Untrained people are not allowed to care for injured reptiles as they need specialised rehabilitation to allow them to return to the wild.

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