Changes to Reptile and Amphibian Regulations Take Effect

ANNAPOLIS (April 1, 2008) — On Friday, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced changes to the existing Reptile and Amphibian Possession and Permit regulations. The changes, effective immediately, add six aquatic turtles to the list of regulated species and create a permitted exception for breeding captive turtles with a permit.

Aquatic turtles added to the list of regulated species include: eastern painted turtle, midland painted turtle, eastern mud turtle, northern red-bellied cooter, stinkpot, and diamond-backed terrapin.

“Turtles are a slow-growing important member of Maryland’s landscape. The changes adopted today will ensure that impacts to these animals will be limited and help conserve them for the future”, explains Glenn Therres, Associate Director of DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.

In 2007, Maryland prohibited commercial take of diamond-backed terrapins. The new regulations formally adopt that legislative change. Diamond-backed terrapins, like the other aquatic turtles listed above, may be bred in captivity with a permit from DNR.

An individual may take and possess one turtle from each of the species listed. Those animals may be taken from the wild and possessed without a permit but may not be commercially traded or sold. As a result of these regulations, commercial harvest of any aquatic turtle (except snapping turtle) is now prohibited. The new regulations will allow a person with a reptile and amphibian permit from DNR to breed turtles in captivity and possess turtles less-than four inches in length.

In addition to the aquatic turtles, American bullfrogs and green frogs were added to the list of regulated species. A person may take from the wild or possess up to four of each species without a permit. A person may take 10 bullfrogs per day for personal use as food.

Several other currently regulated species of reptiles and amphibians were moved to the more restricted lists (B or C) because of conservation concerns for these species. The possession limit for List B species is one from the wild, except for wood turtles, spotted turtles, and diamond-backed terrapins. No List C species may be possessed or taken from the wild. These are primarily state-listed threatened or endangered species. The copperhead was moved to List C as a result of another law passed by the General Assembly, which now prohibits the possession of venomous reptiles in Maryland.

DNR is providing an opportunity for persons in possession of these newly regulated aquatic turtles and frogs to obtain a “grandfathered” permit for any individuals from the list of species that were held in captivity prior to March 24, 2008. Application for this permit must be received by April 30, 2008. Applications may be sent to Permits Coordinator, DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service, 580 Taylor Avenue, E-1, Annapolis, MD 21401.

The updated regulations may be viewed at:

Source: Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

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