ACTION ALERT: Rhode Island

The Department of Environmental Management is proposing changes to the rules governing the importation and possession of "wild animals." Deadline to comment is noon (12:00 PM) on November 30, 2015 and there will be a public meeting at 10:30 AM on November 30 in Providence.

Send comments to:

You MUST be civil and professional at all times!


10:30 A.M. on November 30th, 2015

Conference Room A (Director’s Office, Fourth Floor)

235 Promenade Street

Providence, RI 02908


The proposal can be found at

Herp species affected can be found on pages 21-24 at the link above. They are marked pages 18-21 on the bottom of the pages.

Some of the issues to be addressed:

Rule 7 #8: "No person other than a licensed pet shop or their transportation carriers may shall import any species of exotic amphibians."

This is a problem as it does not allow any private pet owner to have an animal shipped from an online retailer/breeder, or even bring home from a reptile show in another state. The same rule later says it is okay for private owners to keep these species without a permit as long as kept inside, but they are limited to buying these animals from in-state pet shops, thus limiting choices. Amphibian selections in pet shops are very small.

There should be an exemption under Rule 8 for indigenous species that can be shown to be captive bred (i.e. a sales receipt from breeder/reseller). Some of the turtles listed, such as diamondback terrapins, wood turtles and eastern box turtles, are captive bred and this would not be harmful to native populations. Same applies to native snakes, though none of the species listed as native are common in the trade.

Keepers of the large species of snakes and lizards requiring permits may seek to amend the language of the permit requirement to be less overbearing.

Species that should be removed from permit requirement:

1. Pancake tortoise: This is a very small nonnative species of tortoise (smaller than a Box turtle) that is fairly common.

2. Emerald tree boas and Green tree pythons should not require permits. These are small (usually under 5') species, arboreal so they are not heavy/big, are tropical so no threat of being invasive, and are quite expensive ($350-$$3,000) Keepers of these species are very committed to their care.

3. While no common, no reason Solomon Island ground skinks should require permits.

4. ALL monitor lizards require permits. There are several monitor species that remain under 12" snout to vent length (length excluding tail). These certainly have no justification for requiring permits. There are only a couple large monitor lizards common in trade: Nile monitors (Varanus niloticus) and Water monitors (Varanus salvator).

5. No reason any Lacertid should require permits.

6. No iguanas should require permits, so they could just remove that section, too.

7. No agamids should require permits.