Keeping dangerous snakes

Recreational and commercial wildlife licence holders (pre-22 August 2020) can continue to keep the dangerous snakes they are already licensed for, and will be able to transition those animals to a new Specialised or Advanced licence.

Applicants wishing to keep a dangerous snake must have held a Standard, Specialised or Advanced licence (or previous equivalent) with non-dangerous snakes for at least one year, and must be at least 18 years old.

Dangerous snake categories

Three new species have been added to the dangerous snake category – Demansia papuensis (greater black whipsnake), Demansia vestigiata (lesser black whipsnake) and Suta suta (myall snake).

First-level dangerous snakes

  • Pseudechis porphyriacus (red-bellied black snake)
  • Pseudechis guttatas (spotted black snake)

Second-level dangerous snakes

  • Demansia papuensis (greater black whipsnake)
  • Demansia vestigiata (lesser black whipsnake)
  • Hoplocephalus spp. (broad-headed snakes)
  • Acanthophis spp. (death adders)
  • Austrelaps spp. (copperheads)
  • Cryptophis nigrescens (eastern small-eyed snake)
  • Notechis spp. (tiger snakes)
  • Pseudechis spp. (black snakes) (other than first-level dangerous snakes)
  • Suta suta (myall snake)

Third-level dangerous snakes

  • Oxyuranus spp. (taipans)
  • Pseudonaja spp. (brown snakes)
  • Tropidechis carinatus (rough-scaled snake)

Number of dangerous snakes that can be kept

Under a Specialised licence you can keep a maximum of 50 vertebrates –if you keep no other vertebrates, you can keep 50 dangerous snakes.

Under an Advanced licence you can keep a maximum of 50 dangerous snakes, unless you can demonstrate to the Chief Executive that you can reasonably and safely care for more. This approval will only be provided in specific circumstances.

For more information on keeping a larger number of dangerous snakes, please review the Dangerous snake assessment guideline (PDF, 179KB). or contact