Pet-trade sales of amphibians and reptiles in Minnesota

 

Endangered and Threatened Species

A person may not take, import, transport, or sell any portion of an endangered or threatened species of amphibian or reptile, or sell or possess with the intent to sell an article made with any part of the skin, hide, or parts of an endangered or threatened species of amphibian or reptile without a special MN DNR permit (M.S. 84.0895).

The following species of amphibian and reptile are listed as endangered or threatened in Minnesota:

Endangered

  • Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Acris blanchardi)
  • Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus)

Threatened

  • Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
  • Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
  • Western Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoletus)
  • Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)

 

Frogs and Toads

Importation into Minnesota

A MN DNR permit is necessary to import the following species of live frog or toad, including eggs and tadpoles, into the State of Minnesota for use or sale as pets (MINN. R. 6256.0300):

  • Blanchard's cricket frog (Acris blanchardi)
  • Cope's gray tree frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
  • gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor)
  • spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
  • boreal chorus frog (Pseudacris maculata)
  • bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)
  • green frog (Lithobates clamitans)
  • pickerel frog (Lithobates palustris)
  • northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens)
  • mink frog (Lithobates septentrionalis)
  • wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)
  • American toad (Anaxyrus americanus)
  • great plains toad (Anaxyrus cognatus)
  • Canadian toad (Anaxyrus hemiophrys)
  • plains leopard frog (Lithobates blairi)
  • southern leopard frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)
  • pig frog (Lithobates grylio)
  • river frog (Lithobates heckscheri)

Commercial Sale

A special MN DNR permit is required for residents to sell the frog and toad species listed above for purposes other than bait (M.S. 97C.601). Non-residents may not sell these species of frog or toad in the State of Minnesota. A person possessing or selling frogs, frog eggs, or tadpoles in Minnesota must also comply with local and federal laws that regulate these activities.

 

Turtles

Importation into Minnesota

Wild turtles native to Minnesota may be imported into the State if legally collected in their state of origin. A MN DNR permit is required to import captive raised or bred native turtles into the State of Minnesota (MINN. R. 17.4985).

Commercial Sale

With the exception of the Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta), or Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera), native turtles may not be sold as pets in the State of Minnesota (MINN. R. 6256.0500). A turtle seller's or turtle seller's apprentice license is required to take and sell Common Snapping Turtles, Painted Turtles, or Spiny Softshell Turtles captured in Minnesota (MINN. R. 6256.0500). A person possessing or selling turtles or turtle eggs in Minnesota must also comply with local and federal laws that regulate these activities. The following turtle species are considered native to the State of Minnesota:

  • Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
  • Eastern Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)
  • False Map Turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica)
  • Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)
  • Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
  • Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
  • Smooth Softshell Turtle (Apalone mutica)
  • Southern (Ouachita) Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis)
  • Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera)
  • Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)

 

Lizards, Snakes, and Salamanders

Currently lizards, snakes, and salamanders are unprotected wild animals, except those listed as Endangered or Threatened (see top of page), and may be sold for pets if legally obtained or collected (Note - It is often unlawful to collect wildlife on many types of city, county, state, or federal lands). Although these species are currently unprotected, many currently face significant conservation issues, so we discourage the collection and sale of wild-caught animals. A person possessing or selling lizards, snakes, or salamanders in Minnesota must also comply with local and federal laws that regulate these activities.

 

Permits

For frog, toad, or turtle importation or commercial sale questions or permits, please contact: fisheries.permits@state.mn.us

For information about endangered and threatened species, visit: www.dnr.state.mn.us/ets/index.html

 

Additional Information

Remember to think long term! It is important to have plans in place for animals if you or your children no longer wish to keep them.

  • Animals maintained in captivity should NOT be released back into the wild. Disease and invasive species are significant problems facing wild animal populations. Animals may appear healthy while cared for in captivity but can harbor disease or parasites that would be fatal to that individual if returned to the wild, or put a wild population at significant risk. The risk of spreading disease to wild animal populations far out-weighs the possible benefit of releasing an individual or two back into the wild. Learn more about amphibian and reptile diseases.
  • Releasing animals into the wild may also interfere with wild animal populations’ genetic, age, and/or gender dynamics.
  • It is illegal to release non-native animals in Minnesota.
  • Ideally, unwanted animals should be gifted to other pet owners or educators to use in their classroom(s), or to naturalists at regional or state parks. Alternatively, animals could be given to local humane or non-profit societies (e.g., Minnesota Herpetological Society – Adoption Program). If having difficulties placing unwanted animals, please contact the appropriate regional MN DNR Nongame Wildlife Specialist.

 

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