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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran Mephibosheth1's Avatar
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    Northern California Venomous Questions

    Greetings


    So, just have a few questions on Venomous keeping in general, and on California laws in this regard.

    First of all, why do people want to keep venomous reptiles?? (I'm not saying this antagonistically; just want to know why you keep them)

    Second, what are the usual husbandry differences that must be implemented??

    Third, what are the laws in Cali for keeping local hots (Rattlers and stuff I might find field herping)

    The reason I wonder is that I know of one person in Yuba City who keeps a rattler that he found somewhere, and I find it interesting that a PetSmart employee would take it upon himself to keep an animal like that.

    I would like to find it in my future that I could keep some of the local hot species as an educational tool for local schools etc, but right now I know I'm not in the position to do so.

    Figured it couldn't hurt to start getting some info on them early though...
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  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran jason_ladouceur's Avatar
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    Re: Northern California Venomous Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth1 View Post
    Greetings


    So, just have a few questions on Venomous keeping in general, and on California laws in this regard.

    First of all, why do people want to keep venomous reptiles?? (I'm not saying this antagonistically; just want to know why you keep them)

    Second, what are the usual husbandry differences that must be implemented??

    Third, what are the laws in Cali for keeping local hots (Rattlers and stuff I might find field herping)

    The reason I wonder is that I know of one person in Yuba City who keeps a rattler that he found somewhere, and I find it interesting that a PetSmart employee would take it upon himself to keep an animal like that.

    I would like to find it in my future that I could keep some of the local hot species as an educational tool for local schools etc, but right now I know I'm not in the position to do so.

    Figured it couldn't hurt to start getting some info on them early though...
    Like any reptile people have there own independant reasons for wanting to keep hots so I obviously can't answer why people in general keep them. I can answer for myself however. I am drawn to hots for a number of reasons. Most are IMO among the most beautiful of all snakes. All that I have worked with have an attitude of confidence not typically found in their non venomous relatives that I find both fascinating and appealing. In all truth I keep different species of hots not because they are hot, but in spite of it. I would actually perfer if they were not capable of inflicting a bite that can kill. But since they are species I am fascinated by and that's how nature designed them I simply accept the potential danger they pose and take the nessasary precautions to keep them because I am drawn to them.

    As far as differences in husbrandry are concerned, other than the tools and techniques required to handle them in a safe manner and the obvious need to ensure that they are being housed not only in secure cages but in a secure sealed room. They are just like keeping any other reptile. Each individual species has its own specific needs that you as a keeper must be aware of and make every effort to meet.

    I don't live in California so I might be a little off on the laws in your state. Hopefully someone who does live there can correct me if I'm wrong or my understanding of your states laws is incomplete. I believe that you require a permit to keep any non-indigenous species of venomous reptile in California. But it is my understanding that anything such as crotalus viridis or other species that are native to your state are legal to keep. This of course is more than likely also regulated by municipal bylaw as well so you should definatly check your local laws to make sure that you are even allowed to keep hots in your area. It is also quite possible that you may require a permit to legally field collect any animal in your state so you should check with fish and wildlife to verify that as well.
    Hope that helps a little.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Northern California Venomous Questions

    Can't answer any questions about why people keep them or husbandry requirements. But in terms of legalities...

    Quote Originally Posted by jason_ladouceur View Post
    I don't live in California so I might be a little off on the laws in your state. Hopefully someone who does live there can correct me if I'm wrong or my understanding of your states laws is incomplete. I believe that you require a permit to keep any non-indigenous species of venomous reptile in California. But it is my understanding that anything such as crotalus viridis or other species that are native to your state are legal to keep. This of course is more than likely also regulated by municipal bylaw as well so you should definatly check your local laws to make sure that you are even allowed to keep hots in your area. It is also quite possible that you may require a permit to legally field collect any animal in your state so you should check with fish and wildlife to verify that as well.
    Hope that helps a little.
    This is actually incorrect. I'm not an expert on the law by any means, but I am a wildlife biologist and deal with wildlife laws on a pretty regular basis. I also am a California resident. That's the background for what I do know...

    That being said...

    It is actually ILLEGAL to keep *native* species. In order to do so, you will need permits. First, you will need a collection permit to legally collect native reptiles. I do not know what the cost is (my scientific collecting permit now costs over $400, used to be only $60 just a year ago!), nor do I know what justification you need. Get in touch with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to find out. You *might* need a permit to legally keep a native reptile once collected. I am not positive about this though.

    That being said... there are a few holes in law. Some kingsnakes and rosy boas are both native species, but are also widely available in the pet trade, including pet stores. *Technically* there is supposed to be a permitting process for these animals. Breeders are supposed to hold a permit stating the animals in question were either legally collected, or legally bred in captivity. Those breeders (from what I understand) are supposed to take down the information for any one buying their snakes, and report to CDFW, stating those animals were legally bred and sold in captivity and not collected from the wild. I also know for a fact these processes are not followed. Technically anyone without a permit, or who did not buy from a permitted breeder, could potentially have their animals confiscated, if caught. That's if CDFW decides to follow through and enforce the law (whether they will or not depends on a number of factors, I'm sure... I do know they are understaffed and overworked though, some areas more so than others).

    So with that in mind... venomous reptile are another matter. They are not widely available in the pet trade (if at all, I've never seen one in a pet store out here), they are dangerous, and I believe there are actually laws regarding the keeping of venomous animals (at least on a local municipal level, if not statewide level). So the regulations are probably very different. I'm sure in addition to a collecting permit, you would need some kind of permit for keeping a venomous animal.

    In terms of non-native wildlife... whether or not it is legal to keep depends on the species in question. Ball pythons, various garter snakes, corn snakes, etc are all non-native, but also completely legal to keep. I've seen anacondas, reticulated pythons, and burmese pythons in local stores, and assume those are legal too. All kinds of lizards are legal to keep. Same with frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and turtles. For the most part, as long as it is non-native, non-venomous, and has not been banned for some reason (I am not aware of any, off the top of my head) it is legal to keep. What's interesting about this is the same does not apply to mammals and birds kept in captivity in this state. Many avian and mammalian species are in fact illegal, even though the majority of reptile/amphibian species are not. Ferrets, gerbils, degus, African soft-furred rats, various parrots, etc are all illegal to keep in the state of California. They've some how been determined "especially injurious" to the native ecosystems (yet some reptilian species, such as red-eared sliders, bullfrogs, and African clawed frogs who actually do pose a threat and take over natural habitats, eating all our native wildlife, spreading disease, and out-competing, are not "especially injurious"?). I can also tell you there are a lot of people who keep these animals anyway, despite the laws.
    Why keep a snake? Why keep any animal? Because you enjoy the animal, find something beautiful and fascinating about it, and it fits seamlessly into your lifestyle.

  5. #4
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    Here are some links:

    Some information about "restricted species". On a quick glance, all native wildlife is considered "restricted". Only reptiles specifically listed are Crocodilians.
    https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.a...27&inline=true

    Looks like the native reptile propogation permit is $59.23.
    I don't know what else would be required to keep venomous native reptiles.
    http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/spec...tsdescrip.html

    Not sure if these links will work for you, they came up as PDF files in Acrobat, and wouldn't load in my browser for me.
    Native reptile captive propagation: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.a...cumentID=35207
    Looks like this contains a lot of useful information. A must read if you want to keep native reptiles.

    Commercial take of reptiles and amphibians for scientific or educational institutions: nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=35826
    (couldn't find anything specifically about take for personal purposes)
    Last edited by sorraia; 08-15-2013 at 11:50 AM.
    Why keep a snake? Why keep any animal? Because you enjoy the animal, find something beautiful and fascinating about it, and it fits seamlessly into your lifestyle.

  6. #5
    BPnet Senior Member Anya's Avatar
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    Re: Northern California Venomous Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by sorraia View Post
    Can't answer any questions about why people keep them or husbandry requirements. But in terms of legalities...

    It is actually ILLEGAL to keep *native* species.
    From carefully reading the CA fish and wildlife site, and other field herping forums who believe in following the law...I'm sorry, but I believe you're wrong. There are many species (and probably the venomous are included in that, but I can't seem to pin down the master list right now) that are restricted from being collected, but as long as you have a valid CA fishing license, you can legally collect and keep a certain number of reptiles and amphibians.
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    Sorry for multiple posts...

    Found this site with some good summary information. I would verify everything with CDFW to be safe, but according to this site, a permit is not needed to collect rattlesnakes, nor is there a bag limit.
    http://www.californiaherps.com/info/herpinglaws.html

    And despite what CDFW may permit, your local municipal laws may be different. SO... don't just check with CDFW (though they would be the authority on collecting native wildlife), but also with your local county and city laws.
    Why keep a snake? Why keep any animal? Because you enjoy the animal, find something beautiful and fascinating about it, and it fits seamlessly into your lifestyle.

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  9. #7
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    Re: Northern California Venomous Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Anya View Post
    From carefully reading the CA fish and wildlife site, and other field herping forums who believe in following the law...I'm sorry, but I believe you're wrong. There are many species (and probably the venomous are included in that, but I can't seem to pin down the master list right now) that are restricted from being collected, but as long as you have a valid CA fishing license, you can legally collect and keep a certain number of reptiles and amphibians.
    Yes, with a permit. That was my point. I may not have worded it well.
    Why keep a snake? Why keep any animal? Because you enjoy the animal, find something beautiful and fascinating about it, and it fits seamlessly into your lifestyle.

  10. #8
    BPnet Senior Member Anya's Avatar
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    Ah, yes. I guess I just don't equate 'fishing license' with 'permit'. A permit sounds like something that would need to extensively be applied for, when in reality, you can walk into any bait shop or hardware store and pick one up.

    Btw, rattlesnakes are not protected, at least the most common species. There's no bag limit, even. As far as I know (and don't take it as gospel...) as long as you are over 18, you can legally posses a native rattlesnake. Sounds pretty crazy, but I'm fairly sure it's true. I don't recommend it, lol.
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    Re: Northern California Venomous Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Anya View Post
    Ah, yes. I guess I just don't equate 'fishing license' with 'permit'. A permit sounds like something that would need to extensively be applied for, when in reality, you can walk into any bait shop or hardware store and pick one up.

    Btw, rattlesnakes are not protected, at least the most common species. There's no bag limit, even. As far as I know (and don't take it as gospel...) as long as you are over 18, you can legally posses a native rattlesnake. Sounds pretty crazy, but I'm fairly sure it's true. I don't recommend it, lol.
    I understand! I guess technically a "license" may not be quite the same as a "permit", but I do have a tendency to use the words interchangeably and equate the two. The fishing license "permits" one to go fishing (or in this case collect reptiles). Oh... and no need to be sorry about saying I'm wrong! I'm no expert by any means. The majority of my experience has to do with the scientific collecting permit, which IS a fairly extensive process that requires justification. Imagine that? In order to go out and record what I see and hear, I need to offer scientific justification, fill out 5+ pages of paperwork, and perhaps even obtain a federal permit (which has it's own requirements to obtain!), but if I wanted to go out and permanently remove reptiles from the wild, I just need to go get a fishing license. Maybe that's what I need to start doing instead... hehe
    Why keep a snake? Why keep any animal? Because you enjoy the animal, find something beautiful and fascinating about it, and it fits seamlessly into your lifestyle.

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    BPnet Veteran satomi325's Avatar
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    Personally, I find hots very beautiful animals that should never be disrespected or underestimated. I don't keep any hots currently. But if I did, it would be for visual display purposes. If I wanted a tame gentle animal to handle, i'd just stick with my ball pythons.

    I live in NorCal.

    Native Venomous: No permit required, but has a possession limit of two individuals per species last time I looked.
    Exotic Venomous: Permit required
    Protected Native Venomous: Restricted/cannot keep

    It's illegal to own any non native venomous reptile without special permitting in CA. You can however, keep native rattlers no permit required (But keep in mind that there are certain cities, counties, regions, local ordinances, etc where there are restrictions to keep native wildlife regardless of the state law - not to mention that you may need a fishing/hunting license to remove them from the wild if you don't go to a captive breeder. Moving an animal from a property does not require any permits).

    It is also illegal to sell or purchase any native venomous snake unless they are albino. (The reptile shop in Lodi, GBU Enterprises, breeds and sells Albino WDBs)
    And I do believe it is legal to keep/sell/buy Mexican Beaded lizards, which are venomous too. Gila Monsters are restricted. (East Bay Vivarium in the Bay Area sells Mexican Beaded Lizards)




    California Natural Resources Agency - DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
    RESTRICTED SPECIES LAWS AND REGULATIONS
    IMPORTATION, TRANSPORTATION AND POSSESSION OF WILD ANIMALS – MANUAL 671

    Restricted species include:
    (11)Class Reptilia -Reptiles

    (A) Order Crocodilia -Crocodiles, Caimans, Alligators and Gavials: All species (D).
    (B) Family Chelyridae -Snapping Turtles: All species (D).
    (C) Family Elapidae -Cobras, Coral Snakes, Mambas, Kraits, etc.: All species (D).
    (D) Family Viperidae -Adders and Vipers: All species (D).
    (E) Family Crotalidae -Pit Vipers: All species (D), except Crotalus viridis (Western rattlesnake), Crotalus atrox (Western diamondback rattlesnake), Crotalus ruber (red diamondback rattlesnake), Crotalus scutulatus (Mojave rattlesnake), Crotalus mitchelli (speckled rattlesnake) and Crotalus cerastes (Sidewinder) not restricted.
    (F) Family Colubridae -Colubrids:
    1. Dispholidus typus (Boomslang) (D).
    2. Theoltornis kitlandii (Bird or vine snake) (D).
    3. All species of genus Nerodia (watersnakes) (D). (G) Family Helodermatidae:
    1. Heloderma suspectum suspectum (reticulate Gila monster) (D).

    My friend's Albino WDB.
    Last edited by satomi325; 08-15-2013 at 01:04 PM.

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