This set of recommendations reflects the opinion of the Regulations Committee of the New England Herpetological Society. We feel that the Massachusetts Permits List for Reptiles and Amphibians should be reworked to reflect the changes in technology and knowledge that have occurred in the two decades since the Permits list was first compiled.

To summarize, we have asked for the following changes:

  • Turtles: Two tortoise species should be removed from the permit list, based on captive breeding results.
  • Snakes: Twelve species of colubrid snakes should be removed from the list based on extensive captive breeding, and a number of small families considered for removal based on advances in knowledge. Also, we request that the size limit for large snakes either be eliminated or standardized.
  • Lizards: Two independent groups of changes were requested for the lizards. The “lizards” section of the current Permits List is disjointed and contradictory in places, and in even blatantly biased. We request that the lizards section be totally revised to eliminate these contradictions and biases, and more accurately reflect the current level of knowledge. However, we recognize that this might seem too drastic a step for some, and so we have also compiled a list of those species that should be removed from the list regardless of any other changes.
  • Amphibians: No changes were requested.
  • Crocodilians: No changes were requested.

We would also like to take this opportunity to make two final requests. We realize that, due to manpower and budgetary restraints, pet shops and other commercial establishments cannot be routinely checked to verify that they are complying with the restrictions listed in the Permits List. However, employees at a number of pet stores that have been visited by our members said that they were totally unaware of the existence of the Permits List. Would it be possible to have a yearly mailing to each of the pet stores in Massachusetts detailing the restrictions, and mentioning the penalties for violations? This would help in enforcement of the laws, and also limit the number of animals that might otherwise fall into the hands of inexperienced people.

We would also like to suggest that the Permits List be reviewed on a more periodic basis. The current list has not been modified, to our knowledge, since it was established in the mid 1970’s. A yearly review would be wonderful, but in practical terms every few years, with at least two a decade, would still be useful.

We thank you for the opportunity to make our views known. If anything in this document requires further clarification or elaboration, do not hesitate to contact the Society.