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Keeping wildlife for recreational purposes

General information

The Nature Conservation Act 1992 (PDF)* allows for the recreational (private) keeping and use of a wide range of native species. In addition, a large number of exotic species are available in Queensland; international or prohibited animals may only be kept under a licence, whereas other species may be kept without a licence if they were lawfully imported into Queensland.

Certain native birds, reptiles and amphibians may be kept privately in Queensland. Some species may be kept without a licence, whereas others may only be kept with an appropriate licence.

The holder of a recreational wildlife licence may only keep and use wildlife for recreation, and is not permitted to use the animals held under the licence for a commercial purpose. If you are interested in using protected wildlife commercially, you should refer to the section Commercial use of animals.

The cost of your licence, and the requirements for obtaining the licence vary depending upon the species you wish to keep.

  • Controlled, commercial and recreational animals are usually fairly easy to keep and you do not need a lot of experience to get a licence.
  • If you want to keep restricted animals, and especially restricted reptiles, you will need to demonstrate considerable experience in handling and husbandry of wildlife. You cannot get a recreational wildlife licence for restricted reptiles and amphibians unless you are 18 years of age or older.
  • International wildlife can usually be kept without a lot of experience. However, applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

If you are just starting out, you should first get a recreational wildlife licence for controlled, commercial and recreational animals. This is usually referred to as a "basic" recreational wildlife licence.

You can apply for a Recreational Wildlife licence using the department's online service.

Information sheet: Recreational wildlife licence (PDF, 133K)*.

For limits on restricted reptiles please see Operational policy - Considerations when assessing Recreational Wildlife Licences for Restricted Reptiles - Dangerous Snakes (PDF, 187K)*.

You can also read the legislation online by visiting the Office of Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website.

Permits and approvals

If you wish to apply for a particular licence or permit, you need to lodge a completed application form.

A person who keeps wildlife under a recreational wildlife licence must keep the animal in a way that protects the welfare of the animal and minimises the likelihood that the animal will escape. The following codes of practice are relevant to a person who holds a recreational wildlife licence:

Forms and fees

Please download an application form; contact Permit and Licence Management or email for assistance.

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Last updated
12 June 2014