In 1995, Massachusetts revised its list of those reptiles and amphibians that require a permit to possess in captivity. This revision is the first since the list was written in the 1970’s, with the help of the Massachusetts Herpetological Society. The New England Herpetological Society was instrumental in the revision of the list - many animals commonly captive bred were removed from the list (for example, Bearded Dragons and Leopard Tortoises).

The lists available below are a combination of the new Permits List and the Massachusetts list of endangered, threatened, or special concern species (which only deals with species native to Massachusetts). Other animals that also require a permit are those that are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and those species listed in the Red Book of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). For example, although not listed here, Galapagos tortoises would require a state permit.

Permit applications can be obtained from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife at 100 Cambridge Street, Leverett Saltonstall Building, Room 1902, Boston, MA 02202. Their telephone number is (617) 727-3151. Two types of permits are available: a permit to possess a single animal, and a permit for multiple animals (necessary for captive breeding). Permits are renewed on a yearly basis, for a small fee (per permit, not per animal). Permits are relatively easy to obtain for animals that are captive-bred (if they aren’t already exempt) except in the case of venomous species. For rare, imported, or endangered animals, permits are issued on a case-by-case basis; if you want to work with an endangered species for example, it helps if you have a lot of experience with related, non-threatened, species. A number of members of the New England Herpetological Society possess permits for many different animals. Ask around at a meeting for more information if you are interested.

The revised regulations were circulated to Massachusetts pet stores in August of 1995. To read the cover letter that accompanied the regulations, click here.

Click link to navigate to a specific section of the list:

Amphibians Crocodilians Lizards Snakes Turtles & Tortoises

Amphibians:

Only the indicated species require permits:  
Jefferson Salamander Ambystoma jeffersonianum species
Blue-spotted Salamander Ambystoma laterale species
Marbled Salamander Ambystoma opacum species
Spotted Salamander Ambystoma maculatum species
Silvery Salamander Ambystoma platineum species
Tremblay’s Salamander Ambystoma tremblayi species
Spring Salamander Gyrinophilus porphyriticus species
Four-toed Salamander Hemidactylium scutatum species
Eastern Spadefoot Scaphiopus holbrooki species

Crocodilians:

All crocodilians require permits  

Lizards:

All the lizards in the following families require permits:  
Amphisbaenids Worm Lizards
Anniellids American Legless Lizards
Helodermatids Gila Monster/Beaded Lizard
Pygopodids Australian Scaley-foot Lizards
Xenosaurids Knob-scale Lizards
   
In the following families, all species require permits except the indicated species:  
Varanids Monitor Lizards
- except Spiny-Tailed Monitor Varanus acanthurus
   
In the following families, all species require permits except the indicated species:  
Agamids Agamas
- Bearded Dragon Amphibolorus/Pogona species
- except Calotes species
- except Frilled Lizards Chlamydosaurus species
- except Hydrosaurus species  
- except Uromastyx Uromastyx species
- except Water Dragon Physignathus species
   
In the following families, all species require permits except the indicated species:  
Anguids Lateral Fold Lizards
- except Slowworm Anguis species
- except Alligator Lizard Gerrhonotus species
- except Glass Lizard Ophisaurus species
   
In the following families, all species require permits except the indicated species:  
Cordylids Girdle-tailed Lizards
- except Plated Lizard Gerrhosaurus species
- except Malagasy Plated Lizard Zonosaurus species
- except Girdle-tailed Lizard Cordylus species  
- except Rock Lizard Platysaurus species
- except False Club-tailed Lizard Pseudocordylus species
   
In the following families, all species require permits except the indicated species:  
Iguanids Iguanas
- except New World Chameleons Anolis and Ctenotus species
- except Basilisks Basiliscus species
- except Zebra-tailed Lizards Callisaurus species
- except Collared Lizards Crotaphytus species
- except False Iguanas Ctenosaurus species
- except Green Iguanas Iguana iguana species
- except Spiny Lizards Sceloporus species
- except Tree and Bush Lizards Urosaurus species
- except Tree Iguanas Liolaemus species
- except Mophead Iguanas Uranoscodon species
   
In the following families, all species require permits except the indicated species:  
Lacertids Lacertas
- except Fringe-Fingered Lizards Acanthodactylus species
- except Gallot’s Lizards Gallotia species
- except Lacertas Lacerta species
- except Wall Lizards Podarcis species
- except Sand Lizards Psammodromus species
   
In the following families, only the indicated species require permits:  
Gekkonids Geckos
Big Bend Gecko Coleonyx reticulatus species
   
In the following families, only the indicated species require permits:  
Scincids Skinks
Florida Sand Skink Neoseps species
Solomon Isle Skink Tribolonotus species
   
In the following families, only the indicated species require permits:  
Teiids Tegus
Earless Teiid Bachia species
Desert Tegu Dicrodon species
Rough Teiid Echinosaura species
Spectacled Teiid Gymnophthalmus species
Brown Water Teiid Neusticurus species
Snake Teiid Ophiognomon species
Worm Teiid Scolecosaurus species
   
In the following families, only the indicated species require permits:  
Night Lizards Xantusids
Utah Night Lizard Xanthusa virgilis utahensisspecies

Snakes:

All of the families listed do not require permits.  
Species listed in red are exceptions, and REQUIRE a permit.  
Uropeltidae Short-Tailed Snakes
Xenopeltidae Sunbeam Snakes
Typhlopidae Blind Worm Snakes
Leptotyphlopidae Slender Blind Snakes
Anomalepididae Blind Snakes
Boidae Boas, Pythons, Anacondas
- except African Rock Python Python sebae species
- except Reticulated Python Python reticulas species
- except Anaconda Eunectes species
Garter and Ribbon Snakes Thamnophis species
- except Two-striped Garter T. elegans hammondi
- except San Francisco Garter T. sirtalis tetrataenis species
Water Snakes Nerodia {Natrix} species
North American Rat Snakes Elaphe species
- except Black Ratsnake E. obsoleta obsoleta species
Asian Rat Snakes Bogertophis, Elaphe, Ptyas, Zaocys species
Tropical Rat Snakes Spilotes species
King and Milk Snakes Lampropheltis species
Gopher and Pine Snakes Pituophis species
Green Snakes Opheodrys species
Glossy Snakes Arizona species
Ground Snakes Sonora species
Diadem Snakes Spalerosophis species
House Snakes Boaedon/Lamprophis species
Texas Indigo Snakes Drymarchon corais erebennus species
Brown and Redbelly Snakes Storeria dekayi species
Western Hognose Snake Heterodon nasicus species

Turtles & Tortoises:

Only the indicated species require permits:  
Blandings Turtle Emydoidea blandingi species
Red Bellied Turtle Chrysemys rubriventris species
Diamondback Terrapin Malaclemys terrapin species
Bog, Spotted, Wood Turtle Clemmys species
- except Pacific Wood turtle C. marmorata species
Eastern Box Turtle** Terrapene carolina carolina species
Gopher Tortoise Gopherus species
Pancake Tortoise Malacochersus tornieri
Argentina Tortoise Geochelone chilensis