Keeping venomous snakes as pets

Permits for venomous snakes

Venomous snakes can be very dangerous.

You need a permit to keep any venomous snake in the Northern Territory (NT). 

The category of the permit depends on the level of danger attached to a species. 

There are three permit categories for keeping venomous snakes:

  1. Category 1 – mildly dangerous venomous.
  2. Category 2 – dangerous venomous.
  3. Category 3 – highly dangerous venomous.

When you apply for a permit to keep a venomous snake, you need to consider all of the following:

  • your property will be inspected by Parks and Wildlife staff to see if it is suitable for a venomous snake
  • you may need approvals from your local council, the Department of Health or the Department of Lands, Planning and the Environment
  • you must get your snake from a legal source that has a permit
  • your permit does not let you remove snakes from the wild
  • allow five days to process a Category 1 permit
  • allow two weeks to process a Category 2 and 3 permit.

If you want to import or export a snake you will need a separate permit.

Snakes you can't keep 

For medical reasons you can't get a permit to keep any of the following snake families in the NT:

  • copperhead snakes
  • broad-headed snakes
  • tiger snakes
  • rough-scaled snake
  • eastern small-eyed snake.

Exotic snakes, venomous or non-venomous, can't be kept by private permit holders in the NT.

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Last updated: 17 February 2016

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