A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

Captive Propagation and Commercialization of Native Reptiles and Amphibians

observation link

The following information was copied from the California Department of Fish and Game document titled NATIVE REPTILE CAPTIVE PROPAGATION LAWS AND REGULATIONS in March of 2008. These may not be the current regulations. To download a PDF with information regarding captive propagation of native reptiles and amphibians, follow the link on the special permits page that should be labelled Native Reptile Captive Propogation.

§40. General Provisions Relating to Native Reptiles and Amphibians.

(a) General Prohibition It is unlawful to capture, collect,
intentionally kill or injure, possess, purchase, propagate, sell,
transport, import or export any native reptile or amphibian, or part
thereof, except as provided in this chapter, Chapter 2 of this
subdivision relating to sportfishing and frogging, sections 650,
670.7, or 783 of these regulations, or as otherwise provided in the
Fish and Game Code or these regulations.
(b) For the purposes of this section, “intentionally kill or injure”
does not include death or injury that occurs incidental to an
otherwise lawful activity. This section does not prohibit the capture,
temporary collection or temporary possession of native reptiles
and amphibians done to avoid mortality or injury in connection
with such activities. The live capture and release of native reptiles
and amphibians done to avoid such death or injury may occur
only with the department’s written approval.
(c) Except for dried or processed reptile skins, it is unlawful
to display, in any place of business where pets or other animals
are sold, native reptiles or amphibians which cannot lawfully be
(d) Progeny resulting from pregnant native reptiles or
amphibians collected from the wild must be transferred to another
person or to a scientific or educational institution within 45 days
of birth or hatching. Persons receiving such progeny shall comply
with the bag and possession limits specified in sections 5.05 and
(e) Reptiles or amphibians which have been in captivity,
including wild-caught and captively-bred individuals or offspring,
shall not be released into the wild without the written approval of
the department.
(f) Biological Supply Houses and Exempt Organizations.
(1) Biological Supply Houses. The department may issue permits
to owners of biological supply houses to sell native reptiles and
amphibians to scientific or educational institutions, pursuant to
Section 651.
(2) Organizations and Schools Exempt from Permit.
Institutions or organizations engaged in bona fide scientific study
of native wildlife, whose specimens are readily available for use
or viewing by the public at large on a regular basis, and government
accredited schools that are open to the public may possess, accept
donations of, or exchange, purchase or sell between organizations,
native reptiles and amphibians without a permit.

§43. Captive Propagation and Commercialization of Native Reptiles.

(a) Native Reptile Propagation Permit.
(1) Permit Required. Except for pet shops as provided in sub-
section 43(f), every person, who, for commercial purposes, sells,
possesses, transports, imports, exports or propagates native rep-
tiles pursuant to subsection 43(c), or who propagates native rep-
tiles for noncommercial purposes pursuant to subsection 43(b),
shall have a native reptile propagation permit that has not been
revoked or suspended issued to that person. The permit or a
legible copy of the permit shall be in the immediate possession
of the permittee while native reptiles are being displayed to the
public, taken, transported, or sold. The permit or a legible copy of
the permit shall be kept where native reptiles are maintained. No
permit is required for the purchase of subspecies of native rep-
tiles authorized pursuant to subsection 43(c).
(2) Application. Application for a permit shall be made on
Native Reptile Propagation Permit Application, Form FG391b (08/
02), which is incorporated by reference herein. Application forms
are available from the Department of Fish and Game, License
and Revenue Branch, 1740 N. Market Blvd., Sacramento, Califor-
nia 95834; Telephone (916) 928-5845. The application form shall
be completed in its entirety, including information on the species
and/or subspecies proposed for propagation, the location of the
rearing facility and other related information.
(3) Term of Permit. Permits issued under the provisions of
this section shall be valid from January 1 through December 31
or, if issued after the beginning of such term for the remainder
(4) Denial. The department may deny a permit to any person
who fails to comply with the provisions of a permit or any regula-
tions pertaining to native reptiles. Any person denied a permit
may request a hearing before the commission to show cause
why his/her permit should be issued.
(5) Revocation. The commission, after proper notice and pro-
viding for an opportunity to be heard, may revoke or suspend a
permit for a violation of the Fish and Game Code, or the Title 14,
CCR, or any federal law or regulation pertaining to reptiles.
(6) Permit Fee. The permit fee shall be the basic fee set forth
in subsection 699(b), Title 14, California Code of Regulations.
This fee shall be adjusted annually pursuant to Section 713 of the
Fish and Game Code.
(7) Albino Native Reptiles. Albino reptiles are defined as indi-
vidual native reptiles lacking normal body pigment and having red
or pink eyes. No permit is required for the possession, propaga-
tion, importation, exportation, transportation, purchase or sale of
captively-bred native albino reptiles or amphibians. The provi-
sions of section 5.60 apply to the taking and possession of albino
native reptiles from the wild.
(b) Non-commercial Propagation. The department may au-
thorize the possession and propagation of no more than three
species and no more than 30 individuals in the aggregate includ-
ing progeny under a native reptile propagation permit. Within the
overall limit of 30 individuals, the department may authorize no
more than four of any one species to be taken from the wild.
Individuals may be taken only by the methods authorized by sec-
tions 5.60. Native reptiles possessed pursuant to this subsection
may not be purchased or sold.
(c) Propagation and Possession for Commercial Purposes.
Native reptiles may not be sold, possessed, transported, imported,
exported or propagated for commercial purposes, except as pro-
vided in Section 40(f) and except as follows:
(1) Subspecies Authorized. Pursuant to the provisions of this
section, only the following subspecies may be sold, possessed,
transported, imported, exported or propagated for commercial
(A) California common kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus
(B) California subspecies of the gopher snake (Pituophis
melanoleucus): Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis
melanoleucus deserticola), Pacific gopher snake (Pituophis
melanoleucus catenifer), San Diego gopher snake (Pituophis
melanoleucus annectens), and Sonora gopher snake (Pituophis
melanoleucus affinis);
(C) California subspecies of the rosy boa (Lichanura
trivirgata): Coastal rosy boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) and
Desert rosy boa (Lichanura trivirgata gracia).
(2) Bill of Sale. All animals sold pursuant to these regulations
must be accompanied by a numbered bill of sale which shall con-
tain the name and permit number of the permittee, the complete
scientific name of each native reptile sold and the name and ad-
dress of the buyer. A copy of the bill of sale shall be retained by the
(d) Addition or Removal of reptiles authorized for commercial
propagation. The following information shall accompany a re-
quest to add or remove a reptile to the list that may be commer-
cially propagated:
A review of scientific literature documenting the population
status of the species in California.
(1) Caging and care guidelines for the animal in captivity.
(2) Analysis of the effects of broodstock collection methods
on wild populations.
(3) Analysis of the effects on wild reptile populations of re-
leased or escaped reptiles bred under this program.
(4) Evaluation of the commercial market for the proposed spe-
(e) Limits. Except as otherwise authorized, no person shall
take or possess native reptiles taken from the wild in excess of
the bag and possession limits specified in section 5.60. There
are no possession limits for captively-bred native reptiles autho-
rized by subsection 43(c) for persons possessing a native reptile
propagation permit or for which the person has a bill of sale as
required in subsection 43(c)(2).
(f) Pet Shops.
(1) Defined. A "pet shop" means a permanent place of busi-
ness, licensed by a city or county, that is open to the public and
maintains normal business hours, where pet animals are kept
for retail sale. An "owner or operator" means the person who
owns or is in charge of the pet shop.
(2) Exemption. Pet shop owners or operators or their employ-
ees or agents, are not required to obtain a native reptile propaga-
tion permit to purchase, transport directly from the point of pur-
chase to the pet shop, possess or resell native reptiles purchased
from a permittee pursuant to subsection 43(c). This exemption
applies only to native reptiles sold by the pet shop from the pre-
mises of the pet shop.
(3) Records of Purchases. The owner or operator of a pet
shop shall retain the original bill of sale at the pet shop for each
native reptile acquired while the animal is at the pet shop and for
two years thereafter. The bill of sale shall contain the name and
permit number of the native reptile permittee from which the ani-
mals were purchased or acquired, the date acquired and the
scientific name and number of each subspecies of animals ac-
(4) Records of Sales. Each native reptile sold by pet shops
shall be accompanied by a numbered bill of sale which shall
contain the name and address of the pet shop, the date sold and
the scientific name and number of each subspecies sold. A copy
of the bill of sale shall be retained at the pet shop for two years
from the date of sale.
(5) Effect of Violation. No native reptiles shall be sold from
any pet shop whose owner or operator, or any employee or agent
selling native reptiles from the pet shop, has been convicted of a
violation pertaining to native reptiles within the previous three years.
(g) Humane Care and Treatment. Permittees shall comply
with the following provisions:
(1) Enclosures. The perimeter of the enclosure for snakes 33
inches or less shall be 1.5 times the length of the snake. The pe-
rimeter of the enclosure for snakes more than 33 inches in length
shall be 1.25 times the length of the snake. The perimeter shall be
measured on the inside of the top edge of the enclosure. Snakes
may be kept in smaller cages or containers for 31 days from the
date of birth or hatching and while being transported or displayed
at trade shows. All enclosures shall be adequately ventilated. The
substrate shall facilitate the ability to maintain a clean and healthy
environment for each animal.
(2) Food. Food shall be wholesome, palatable and free from
contamination and shall be supplied in sufficient quantity and nu-
tritive value to maintain the animal in good health.
(3) Water. Potable water must be accessible to the animals at
all times or provided as often as necessary for the health and com-
fort of the animal. All water receptacles shall be clean and sanitary.
(4) Cleaning of enclosures. Excrement shall be removed from
enclosures as often as necessary to maintain animals in a healthy
(5) Disinfection of enclosures. After an animal with an infec-
tious or transmissible disease is removed from an enclosure,
that enclosure shall be disinfected.
(6) Pest control. Programs of disease prevention and para-
site control, euthanasia and adequate veterinary care shall be
established and maintained by the permittee.
(7) Observation. Animals shall be observed at least twice a
week by the permittee or once a week if the animals are in hiber-
nation. Sick, diseased, stressed, or injured animals shall be pro-
vided with veterinary-approved care or humanely destroyed.
(8) Handling. Animals shall be handled carefully so as not to
cause unnecessary discomfort, behavioral stress, or physical
harm to the animal.
(h) Records. Every permittee shall keep accurate accounting
records for three years in which all of the following shall be re-
(1) The complete scientific name and number of all native
reptiles purchased, received, sold, delivered, taken and pos-
(2) The person from whom the native reptiles were purchased
or received.
(3) The person to whom the native reptiles were sold or deliv-
(4) The date the native reptiles were purchased, received,
sold, delivered or taken.
(5) The price paid or received.
(6) The dates and numbers of eggs laid.
(7) The dates and numbers of births or hatchlings.
(i) Annual Report Requirement. A copy of the records required
in subsection 43(h) shall be submitted to the department by De-
cember 31 of each year. No permit shall be renewed unless the
records or a signed statement that no species and/or subspecies
of native reptiles were purchased, received, sold, delivered, taken
or possessed during the year is submitted.
(j) Confidentiality of Records. The records and reports filed
with the Department pursuant to subsections 43(h)(2), (3), and
(5) contained in the records and reports filed with the department
pursuant to subsection 43(i) shall be confidential and shall not be
disclosed to the public.
(k) Inspection. The department may enter the premises of
any permittee where reptiles are maintained, or reasonably may
be maintained, at any reasonable hour to inspect reptiles, and
enclosures and to inspect, audit or copy records and receipts
required by this section. Refusal to allow an inspection may be
grounds for revocation of the permit by the commission.

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