If you’ve ever wanted to pick up a snake and carry it home with you, a proposed change to reptile and amphibian collection rules in Utah could make your wish come true. Right now, if you want to catch a wild reptile or amphibian in Utah to keep as a pet, the process is a bit convoluted.
“They would have to consult our current regulations and determine whether that species is classified as not controlled, controlled or prohibited," said Drew Dittmer, one of the native species coordinators for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. "If it’s a controlled species they have to get a certificate of registration and we would review it to determine if they can or cannot collect that species.”
Dittmer specializes in the conservation of reptiles and amphibians.
“We are wanting to move to a permit that a user interested in these species will buy," he said. "The permit will be available online but before they can purchase it they have to take an education course that covers basic biology of reptiles and amphibians in the state of Utah, and rules on when and where this activity will be allowed.”
The permit doesn’t allow people to collect dangerous reptiles and amphibians, like rattlesnakes or Gila Monsters. And sensitive species like the Arizona Toad also can’t be collected.
After you catch a reptile or amphibian, under the new proposal you would be required to report where and when you found it to the DWR. Dittmer said that this will improve the data on reptile and amphibian locations.
“That gives us an incredible line of data that we currently don’t have. There’s no other state that has started this model. It’s got a strong citizen-science element,” he said.
Interested parties can give feedback to the DWR on the proposal at a Regional Advisory Committee meeting. Meeting dates and locations can be found on the DWR website.