State of the Union: Legal Authority Over the Use of Native Amphibians and Reptiles in the United States

In the United States, the State Fish and Wildlife Agencies have the primarily responsibility and authority for managing fish and wildlife species, including amphibians and reptiles, in the public trust. Native amphibians and reptiles (i.e., herpetofauna) provide a resource that can be used in a unique way relative to other vertebrates managed by the states. Herpetofauna are harvested for human food consumption, for their skins, as pets, for bait, and for hobbyist collection as well as for traditional wildlife uses such as for research or educational purposes. Each state has adopted laws and regulations pertaining to many of these various uses of amphibians and reptiles.  The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (Association) Amphibian and Reptile Subcommittee, in partnership with the Association’s Law Enforcement Committee, created this document to summarize these existing laws and regulations.  This report is up-to-date as of February 2012, and will be maintained to incorporate changes each year (for most current laws/regulations, be sure to contact an individual state directly).

The Subcommittee will be using this report to guide the development of Association committee-reviewed companion recommendations for model regulatory approaches for these uses of amphibians and reptiles.

Read the full document here.

Article written by Paul Rodarte