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Texas herp keeping laws?

Posted: November 7th, 2013, 8:34 am
by DracoRJC
Hey all,
In the near future I will be moving back to my home state of Texas, in some combination of grad school at A&M or staying with my family in Austin. I currently have a dumeril's boa, bearded dragon, and red-bellied water snake that I am planning on bringing with me. What are the laws for keeping both native and exotic species? I am also interested in keeping hots and large constrictors in the next few years as money/time allows, and I am unaware of the laws in TX for them as well. Any information, including links to relevant websites, is much appreciated.

Thanks for any input,

Re: Texas herp keeping laws?

Posted: November 7th, 2013, 9:44 am
by Tom Lott
From the Texas Reptile Expos website:

"Under House Bill 12, enacted by the 80th Texas Legislature, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is required to establish permits authorizing the possession and transportation of the following snakes:

ALL non-indigenous venomous snakes
African rock python (Python sebae)
Asiatic rock python (Python molurus)
green anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
reticulated python (Python reticulatus), and
southern African python, (Python natalensis)
A hybrid of any species listed above

"The bill also prohibits the release of these snakes into the wild in Texas.

"The proposed regulations would require anyone who possesses one of the controlled exotic snakes, but does not sell snakes, to buy a $20 Recreational Controlled Exotic Snake Permit. Permit No. 580"

Unfortunately, however, municipalities are allowed to impose much more restrictive regulations than the State's - and they routinely do so. Many of those may be found here:

Re: Texas herp keeping laws?

Posted: November 8th, 2013, 1:25 pm
by DracoRJC
In this case, does "non-indigenous" mean nonnative to Texas or the United States as a whole? Because I am interested in keeping hots that are native to TX, other states in the US, as well as exotics. Also, is that $20 permit difficult to obtain?

Re: Texas herp keeping laws?

Posted: November 9th, 2013, 2:57 pm
by Tom Lott
As far as the State of Texas is concerned, you may keep, without a permit, any venomous taxon that occurs within the boundaries of the State: ... ndex.phtml

Problems will arise, however, due to the more restrictive regulations typically imposed by whatever town you will be living in (motivation for living in an unincorporated area!). Most municipalities impose blanket restrictions, which do not allow for the keeping of venomous snakes of any kind, regardless of what the State allows - and most will not issue permits to do so.

The Controlled Exotic Snake permit is very easy to obtain: you fill out a form and pay your $20.

However, even if you do reside in an area that is subject only to the State Regulations, by purchasing such a permit it appears that you are agreeing to allow a Texas Parks and Wildlife "employee" to "inspect" your collection at any time and without a warrant (I am not an attorney, but that is how I read it). I am also unaware that the State has established any sort of caging/safety requirements for "exotic venomous" snakes, so I am skeptical of exactly what such an "inspection" (likely by an uninformed "employee") would hope to accomplish. Some are reluctant to sign away their Fourth Amendment rights so lightly.

The amazingly vague relevant regulation is here: ... =55&rl=656