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Venomous Reptiles

Venomous reptiles include all members of the class Reptilia including their taxonomic successors, subspecies, or any hybrid thereof, regardless of surgical alteration, determined to have the potential to cause serious human injury due to the toxic effects of its venom or poison.

Venomous reptiles is defined as all reptiles in the families Elapidae, Crotalidae (reclassified as a subfamily under Viperidae), Viperidae, and Hydrophiidae; all reptiles in the genus Heloderma; and all reptiles in the family Colubridae belonging to the genera Rhabdophis, Boiga, Dispholidus, Thelatornis, and Atractapsis.

Some mildly venomous rear-fanged colubrid snakes are not regulated as venomous in Florida. Any colubrid snake not in the five genera listed above is not regulated as a venomous snake in Florida and is considered a regular Class III reptile.

Any snakes in the family Hydrophiidae are Prohibited and are not authorized for possession on a venomous reptile permit.

Nuisance trappers who will be in possession of live venomous reptiles at any point are required to obtain a permit to possess venomous reptiles. Nuisance trappers who euthanize venomous reptiles on site are not required to obtain a permit to possess venomous reptiles.

A permit is required to possess any venomous reptile for any reason. Follow the links below for more information about permitting for different activities:


Requirements for possession of venomous reptiles

  • Anyone wishing to possess venomous reptiles must document 1000 hours of experience working with the species they would like to possess or other species in same biological family of wildlife. The experience must span at least one calendar year. The experience documentation must show 1000 hours of practical experience in feeding, handling, care, and husbandry of animals in the same biological family of the animal(s) being requested. Anyone wishing to document their experience hours may use this sample log or any other format (excel sheet, word document, etc.) as long as the description of experience is detailed and the hours are countable, totaling at least 1000 hours.
  • Anyone wishing to possess venomous reptiles must obtain two letters of reference regarding their experience as described above. Both letters must be from a Florida permit holder for the wildlife being applied for (preferably the permit holder overseeing the experience) or a representative of a professional organization or governmental institution which deals directly with venomous reptiles as a part of their organization or institution (this includes universities, public service agencies, zoological associations, herpetological societies and veterinarians). Both letters must be from individuals with firsthand knowledge of the documented experience and must reference such experience in their letter.

Anyone wishing to possess venomous reptiles must pass a facility and caging inspection before a permit will be issued. More information regarding specific caging requirements is on our Rules and Regulations page.

Contact Information

If you have any questions, please contact the Captive Wildlife Office.

Phone: (850) 488-6253
Mail: Captive Wildlife Office, 620 S Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399