Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess wild animals unless the animal was in possession prior to January 1992. Wild animals include, but are not limited to the following orders: Primates; Marsupialia; Insectivora (shrews); Chiroptera (bats); Carnivora (non-domestic dog and cats); Proboscidea (elephants); Perissodactyla (zebras, horses, rhinos); Reptilia (crocodiles, cobras, coral snakes, pit vipers, snapping turtles, alligators); etc.
Note: The animals listed within the above regulations are not a complete list of the animals regulated by the state of California. The listed animals are merely a sampling. For more information, please contact your district office.
B = Ban on private ownership of exotic animals — non-domesticated felines, wolves, bears, reptiles, non-human primates
B* = Partial ban on private ownership of exotic animals — allows ownership of some exotic animals but precludes ownership of the animals listed
L = Requires the “owner” of the exotic animal to obtain a license or permit or to register the animal with state or local authorities to privately possess the animal (excludes states only requiring import permits)
N = The state does not require the “owner” to obtain a license or permit to possess the animal within the state, but may regulate some aspect thereof (i.e. entry permit, veterinary certificate, etc.)
The California reptile law resources below may require you to do some searching on their site. Some of the reptile laws are general or grouped with other animals, like fish, game or mammals. If the following links don’t bring you directly to an informational page, I suggest searching for the term “Reptile” to see if they have a more comprehensive page or PDF.
- California Dept. of Fish and Game Main Site
- NATIVE REPTILE CAPTIVE PROPAGATION LAWS AND REGULATIONS
- AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILE SPECIES OF SPECIAL CONCERN IN CALIFORNIA
- 2008 Sport Fishing Licenses Descriptions
- Fisheries Policies – COMMERCIAL USE OF NATIVE REPTILES
- Miscellaneous Licenses and Permits
- RESTRICTED SPECIES LAWS AND REGULATIONS
- CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME CODE SECTION 2185-2195
- City of Los Angeles Animal Breeder’s Permit
- Protected Reptiles and Amphibians
If your links brings you to this site, be sure to search for “Reptiles” in the top right corner. The main page may not display the info.