The Maryland Department of Natural Resources adopted regulations in 1993 concerning the possession, breeding, and sale of reptiles and amphibians native to our state. Amendments to the regulations were made in 2008. The purpose of these regulations is to protect and conserve native reptiles and amphibians while maintaining the educational and economic benefits derived from them.
A permit may be issued to possess, breed, sell, offer for sale, trade or barter reptiles or amphibians only after the Department is satisfied that the issuance of the permit will not be detrimental to the protection and conservation of native reptiles or amphibians.
There is a $10.00 annual fee charged for this permit.
Term of License
The Captive Reptile and Amphibian Permit/License is valid from the date of issuance until the following December 31.
When do you need a permit?
You need a permit if you:
- breed, attempt to breed, sell, offer for sale, trade, or barter any reptile or amphibian, including color mutations, native to Maryland regardless of where you obtained it.
- possess more than 4 individuals of each reptile and salamander from List A. Of these only 4 may have been taken from the wild.
- possess more than 4 adults and 25 eggs or tadpoles of each frog or toad from List A. Of these only 4 adults and 25 eggs or tadpoles may have been taken from the wild.
- possess more than 1 individual of each reptile or amphibian from List B. Only 1 individual of each species may have been taken from the wild, except no Wood Turtles, Spotted Turtles, or Diamond-backed Terrapins may be taken from the wild.
- possess turtles less than 4 inches.
A permittee may possess an unlimited number of animals from Lists A and B that are captively produced or legally obtained from out of state, with proper documentation.
When don't you need a permit?
You do not need a permit to possess:
- any reptile or amphibian not native to Maryland.
- up to 4 individuals of each reptile and salamander from List A. These may have been obtained from the wild, captively produced, or legally obtained from out of state.
- up to 4 adults and 25 eggs or tadpoles of each frog or toad from List A. These may have been obtained from the wild, captively produced, or legally obtained from out of state.
- 1 individual of each reptile or amphibian from List B. Only 1 individual of each species may have been taken from the wild, except no Wood Turtles, Spotted Turtles, or Diamond-backed Terrapins may be taken from the wild.
- up to 10 American bullfrogs may be taken from the wild per day for personal use as food.
- an unlimited number of any List A reptile or amphibian which is an albino, partial albino, or other color mutation as a result of captive breeding.
What you cannot do:
No reptiles or amphibians from List C may be possessed, bred, or sold. These animals may only be held in accordance with a Scientific Collection Permit or an Endangered Species Permit issued by the Department of Natural Resources.
Venomous snakes may not be possessed as pets.
Conditions for Release into the Wild
A reptile or amphibian that has been captively produced or is not native to Maryland may not be released into the wild. Only individuals that were taken from the wild may be released back into the wild (only at point of capture) if:
- they have not been held in captivity with any other reptile or amphibian; or
- they have not been in captivity for more than 30 days; or
- upon written authorization from the Department of Natural Resources.
The Cans and Cannots of Breeding
Breeding of native reptiles and amphibians requires a permit. Breeding of turtles is allowed with a permit. A permittee may collect from the wild for breeding purposes no more than:
- 4 individuals of each reptile and salamander from List A.
- 4 adults and 25 eggs or tadpoles of each frog or toad from List A.
- 1 individual of each reptile and amphibian from List B, except Wood Turtle, Spotted Turtle, or Diamond-backed Terrapin.
More about Commercial Trade
Commercial trade in native reptiles and amphibians requires a permit. A permittee may sell, offer for sale, trade, or barter any reptiles or amphibians from Lists A and B (only turtles with a carapace length of at least 4 inches) if the animals are captively produced or legally obtained from out of state. In accordance with Maryland Health Department regulations, turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches cannot be sold in Maryland. Commercial trade of turtles less than 4 inches produced by captive breeding in Maryland with a permit is allowed outside of Maryland.
No animals taken from the wild in Maryland or from List C are allowed to be commercially traded.
NOTE: Violation of these regulations or the terms of the permit can result in fines, permit revocation and/or confiscation of animals, and is a misdemeanor under Maryland Natural Resource law.
Native Reptiles and Amphibians
Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)
Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum)
Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)
Seal Salamander (Desmognathus monticola)
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus)
Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata)
Long-tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda)
Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)
Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)
Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus)
Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)
Valley and Ridge Salamander (Plethodon hoffmani)
Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber)
Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrooki)
American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)
Fowler's toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)
Eastern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)
Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)
Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum)
Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris)
Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)
Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvatica)
Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)
American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)
Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus)
Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)
Little Brown Skink (Scincella lateralis)
Common Wormsnake (Carphophis amoenus)
North American Racer (Coluber constrictor)
Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus)
Red Cornsnake (Pantherophis guttata)
Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis)
Northern Mole Kingsnake (Lampropeltis rhombomaculata)
Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
Coastal Plain Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides x triangulum)
Eastern Kingsnake (Llampropeltis getula)
Plain-bellied Watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster)
Common Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon)
Rough Greensnake (Opheodrys aestivus)
Smooth Greensnake (Opheodrys vernalis)
Dekay's Brownsnake (Storeria dekayi)
Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)
Eastern Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)
Broad-headed Skink (Plestiodon laticeps)
Six-lined Racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus)
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata)
Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis saurita)
Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta picta)
Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata)Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum)
Northern Red-bellied Cooter (Pseudemys rubriventris)
Eastern Musk Turtle (Sternothorus odoratus)
Diamond-backed Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)
Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)
Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus)
Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum)
Wehrle’s Salamander (Plethodon wehrlei)
Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)
Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus)
Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)
Carpenter Frog (Rana virgatipes)
Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)
Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa)
Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)
Leatherback Sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Loggerhead Sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
Green Sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Hawksbill Sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Kemp's Ridley Sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii)
Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera)
Coal Skink (Eumeces anthracinus)
Rainbow Snake (Farancia erytrogramma)
Smooth Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae)
Scarletsnake (Cemophora coccinea)
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Eastern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)
For regulations pertaining to snapping turtles, please refer to the following Code of Maryland Regulations or call the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service at 410-260-8280, or toll-free at 1-877-620-8DNR, Ext 8280.
Sanitary Housing & Shipping Requirements
Reptiles and amphibians held in captivity under the terms of this permit, must be housed under humane, safe and healthy conditions. Housing conditions must meet all of the following requirements:
- Enclosures must be designed to provide appropriate lighting, temperatures, humidity and clean water to meet the physical requirement of the reptile or amphibian; the reptile or amphibian must be kept in complete and continuous captivity; the enclosure must restrict the entry of unauthorized persons or predatory animals; permit holder must provide fresh food and clean water to fulfill the dietary requirements of the reptile or amphibian and food and water must be presented in a manner compatible with the reptile or amphibian's particular eating habits; and, the enclosure must minimize potential danger to humans.
- Enclosures must be maintained in a sanitary condition and in good repair.
- Equipment must be available for proper storage and disposal of waste material to control vermin, insects, and obnoxious odors.
- Effective measures must be provided to prevent and control infection and infestation of disease, parasites, or vermin.
- Adequate shelter must be provided for the comfort of the animal and, when necessary, for the isolation of diseased reptiles or amphibians.
- Reptiles or amphibians that are housed together shall be maintained in compatible groups without overcrowding.
Standards for shipping and transportation of live reptiles and amphibians must meet all of the following conditions:
- Containers used for the transport of live animals should be designed, constructed and fitted as appropriate to the species, size, and weight of the animals to be transported. Special attention should be paid to the avoidance of injury to animals through the use of secure smooth fittings or walls free from sharp protrusions.
- Containers shall be designed with the structures necessary to provide protection from adverse weather conditions and to minimize the opportunity for animals to escape.
- In order to minimize the likelihood of the spread of infectious disease during transport, containers shall be designed to permit thorough cleaning and disinfection and such cleaning and disinfection should be completed after each animal has been removed from the container.
- Containers should be maintained in good mechanical and structural condition.
- Containers should have adequate ventilation to meet variations in climate and the thermo-regulatory needs of the species to be transported.
- For salamanders, frogs, toads, and juvenile turtles, sufficient moisture must be available and applied to prevent desiccation of the animal. Turtles may not be transported in water.
- Containers should be adequately designed and positioned during transport such that the containers are securely fastened within the vehicle.
- Vehicles should have adequate ventilation to meet variations in climate and the thermo-regulatory needs of the species being transported.
- Space allowance considerations shall: limit the number of animals that may be transported in a container to only one animal per compartment; ensure that each animal is able to assume its natural position during transport, including during loading and unloading, without coming into contact with the roof or upper deck of the container; and provide sufficient headroom to allow adequate airflow over the animals.
- Animals may not be stacked upon one another in a container.
Reporting & Record Keeping Requirements
Maryland regulations state that anyone possessing a Captive Reptile and Amphibian Permit/License must keep a record of any transaction involving each individual reptile and amphibian in possession.
These forms must be updated immediately after every transaction occurs. These forms will be provided to you by the Permits Coordinator of the Wildlife and Heritage Service.
In addition to these forms, you are also required to maintain a certificate of origin, a bill of sale, or other documentation to prove that the individuals of any species or subspecies of reptiles and amphibians in Lists A and B above were legally obtained. (No animals taken from the wild in Maryland or from List C are allowed to be commercially traded). You must maintain this document for as long as the individual remains in your possession.
A certificate of origin, bill of sale, or other documentation must also be retained for the individuals of any species of reptiles or amphibians that are similar in appearance to those species or sub-species covered under the terms of this permit.
A certificate of origin, bill of sale, or other documentation must include:
- Common name
- Scientific name
- Number of individuals by species
- Date of transaction
- Name and address of seller, including Maryland permit number, when applicable.
A summary of these reporting forms must be returned at the time of renewal of your Captive Reptile and Amphibian Permit/License, or by January 31 following the expiration of the permit, if the permit is not renewed. The original forms shall be available for inspection by a Natural Resources Police office and shall be retained for three years.
Under the terms of the Captive Reptile and Amphibian Permit/License, the permit holder must allow the Department of Natural Resources to enter and inspect the premises where operations permitted by this permit occur and must allow the inspection of the records that are required to be maintained.
The Department of Natural Resources has the right to revoke the Captive Reptile and Amphibian Permit/License for a violation of any of the laws and terms governing this permit and permit revocation may result in the confiscation of an individual of any species or subspecies of reptiles and amphibians which only may be possessed, bred or sold by the holder of a Captive Reptile and Amphibian Permit/License. The disposition of confiscated reptiles or amphibians is at the discretion of the Department of Natural Resources.
How to apply for the Captive Reptile and Amphibian Permit/License
To apply for the Captive Reptile and Amphibian Permit/License, please download and print the following application, and mail to:
Wildlife Permit Coordinator
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife and Heritage Service
580 Taylor Ave., E-1
Annapolis MD 21401
Click here to Download the Application for Captive Reptile and Amphibian Permit
Remember, the application must be returned along with the Application Fee of $10.00. Make your check or money order payable to: The Department of Natural Resources.
Request by E-mail:
(include US Mailing Address)
Request by Phone:
Toll-free in Maryland:
1-877-620-8DNR , Extension 8540
TTY: Maryland Relay via 1-800-735-2258 or 711
Request by Mail:
Wildlife Permit Coordinator
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife and Heritage Service
580 Taylor Ave., E-1
Annapolis MD 21401