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Since I’ve been posting threads in regards to Reptile Expos/Shows in the DMV and PA areas I wanted to do my due diligence on posting some information that is gravely overlooked. While attending these events and expos there are chances that there will be a vendor that happens to be selling animals that are illegal or regulated for ownership in surrounding states. As helpful as it would be to have this information posted by the vendor, it’s not their job to find out where you live and to educate the buyer on the laws regarding species that cannot be owned in the state you live. In most cases, if you go to a show local to your state, these illegal or regulated species are not able to be sold as the sales within the state are prohibited. The local DNR can and does walk through the shows incognito to make sure those species do not show up for sale. With this in mind, most event coordinators work with the vendors to make sure that these prohibited species do not show up on tables for sale. When it comes to going to your neighboring state, most people might not think about this and the logic can/has/will be “if the species is for sale, I should be able to own it”. This is not always the case. Besides shows, this also impacts those who go out herping and bring back wild animals to house. I know there are a lot of people who will talk about conservation of wild species, but a lot of us at some point (as a kid or parent) brought in an animal that was found in the yard or while they were out at a stream or pond. You know what I mean, a great example is the ever so popular tadpole that was found and then watched to metamorphosize into a frog. This list will apply to you guys/gals as well!

Though this part of the forum is for all of the North East of the US, I’m just going to stick to the Maryland. If you’re from part of the North East and in another state that I’m not covering and want to add to this it would probably end up helping someone in the future :)

Maryland:

Maryland is a state that has many things that are regulated at both the state and county levels. As this is Dendroboard I’ll focus on animals in this case, specifically amphibians and reptiles. At the time I'm writing this (9/30/2020) this list is composed of information specific to the State regulations directly from Maryland's Department of Natural Resources.

Per the DNR site, here is the latest list of native species (see here for the updated list on the state site if you’re reading this post years from now):

List A
Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)
Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum)
Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)
Seal Salamander (Desmognathus monticola)
Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus)
Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata)
Long-tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda)
Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)
Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)
Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus)
Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)
Valley and Ridge Salamander (Plethodon hoffmani)
Northern Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber)
Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrooki)
American Toad (Bufo americanus)
Fowler's toad (Bufo fowleri)
Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)
Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)
Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)
Northern Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
Southeastern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum)
Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)
Southern Leopard Frog (Rana spenocephala)
Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)
Green Frog (Rana clamitans)
American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulates)
Common Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus)
Little Brown Skink (Scincella lateralis)
Eastern Wormsnake (Carphophis amoenus)
Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor)
Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus)
Cornsnake (Elaphe guttata guttata)
Black Ratsnake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta)
Mole Kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata)
Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum)
Coastal Plain Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides x triangulum)
Eastern Kingsnake (lampropeltis getula getula)
Red-bellied Watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster)
Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon)
Rough Greensnake (Opheodrys aestivus)
Smooth Greensnake (Opheodrys vernalis)
Dekay's Brownsnake (Storeria dekayi)
Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)
Eastern Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)

List B
Broad-headed Skink (Eumeces laticeps)
Eastern Six-lined Racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus)
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata)
Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus)
Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)
Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta picta)
Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata)
Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum)
Northern Red-bellied Cooter (Pseudemys rubriventris)
Stinkpot (Sternothorus odoratus)
Diamond-backed Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

List C
Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)
Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus)
Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum)
Wherle’s Salamander (Plethodon wehrlei)
Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)
Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus)
Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)
Carpenter Frog (Rana virgatipes)
Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)
Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa)
Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)
Leatherback Seaturtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Loggerhead Seaturtle (Caretta caretta)
Green Seaturtle (Chelonia mydas)
Atlantic Hawksbill Seaturtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Kemp's Ridley Seaturtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii)
Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera)
Northern Coal Skink (Eumeces anthracinus)
Rainbow Snake (Farancia erytrogramma)
Smooth Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae)
Northern Scarletsnake (Cemophora coccinea)
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)

Per the state regulations you may have to submit a request for a permit when it comes to owning these species within Maryland. How to know if you need a permit for the animals above?

When do you need a permit?
You need a permit if you:
  • breed, attempt to breed, sell, offer for sale, trade, or barter any reptile or amphibian, including color mutations, native to Maryland regardless of where you obtained it.
  • possess more than 4 individuals of each reptile and salamander from List A. Of these only 4 may have been taken from the wild.
  • possess more than 4 adults and 25 eggs or tadpoles of each frog or toad from List A. Of these only 4 adults and 25 eggs or tadpoles may have been taken from the wild.
  • possess more than 1 individual of each reptile or amphibian from List B. Only 1 individual of each species may have been taken from the wild, except no Wood Turtles, Spotted Turtles, or Diamond-backed Terrapins may be taken from the wild.
  • possess turtles less than 4 inches.
A permittee may possess an unlimited number of animals from Lists A and B that are captively produced or legally obtained from out of state, with proper documentation.


When don't you need a permit?
You do not need a permit to possess:
  • any reptile or amphibian not native to Maryland.
  • up to 4 individuals of each reptile and salamander from List A. These may have been obtained from the wild, captively produced, or legally obtained from out of state.
  • up to 4 adults and 25 eggs or tadpoles of each frog or toad from List A. These may have been obtained from the wild, captively produced, or legally obtained from out of state.
  • 1 individual of each reptile or amphibian from List B. Only 1 individual of each species may have been taken from the wild, except no Wood Turtles, Spotted Turtles, or Diamond-backed Terrapins may be taken from the wild.
  • up to 10 American bullfrogs may be taken from the wild per day for personal use as food.
  • an unlimited number of any List A reptile or amphibian which is an albino, partial albino, or other color mutation as a result of captive breeding.

In order to obtain a permit you must complete and submit the form (see here for form download) and the associated $10.00 application fee to the Maryland State DNR.


Wildlife Permit Coordinator
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife and Heritage Service
580 Taylor Ave., E-1
Annapolis MD 21401


To those of you who have read everything up to this point, you’re probably scratching your head on something. “Tihsho, I see that the permit/non permit only covers lists A and B above… What do I do for a species found in List C?” Great question! Sadly, I don’t have an answer you’re going to like to hear… The answer is that any species in that list cannot be possessed, bred, or sold within the state. These animals may only be held in accordance with a Scientific Collection Permit or an Endangered Species Permit issued by the Department of Natural Resources. If you’re interested in either of those two permits I’ll leave you to get that information since most people reading this thread won’t be approved without an educational justification backing the application.

Now that we have the native species out the way, let's get into some of the other exotics. What can’t you get from an out of state breeder or show for your private collection? Well here’s the list:

  • Caiman
  • Alligator
  • Crocodile
  • Venomous snakes

“Wait a minute… aren’t Western Hognoses technically venomous?” Yes, yes they are! Great catch! This is the only venomous snake that you can easily and legally obtain as a Maryland resident. “Why are they allowed?” This is a long going discussion in the Maryland Herp community… Being that these species are rear fanged and not regularly known to bite people is a key driver of this, whether or not that’s truly the answer, we as citizens won’t ever truly know what’s going on in the head of lawmakers. Anything else that is venomous will require you to be a licensed and inspected Zoo and/or trained individual who is housing these species for educational research. If you’re interested in getting those licenses, well again I’ll leave you to find that information as it generally won’t be something anyone reading this will fall into.
 

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This is very good, very useful.

However I think it is the responsibility of any vendor who sells a regulated species to know all the laws regarding such, and to educate prospective buyers. They should ask, and they should be able to provide the data.
 

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This is very good, very useful.



However I think it is the responsibility of any vendor who sells a regulated species to know all the laws regarding such, and to educate prospective buyers. They should ask, and they should be able to provide the data.
@Tihsho 's point is that if you're at an expo that it shouldn't be up to the vendor to know the laws in a neighboring state. For example if I live in New York State and go to a show in New Jersey, the vendor in New Jersey shouldn't have to ask me where I'm from and know the laws for New York State, only the laws for the state in which they are vending at a show. Otherwise, you're expecting A LOT from vendors.

For example: New York city has restrictions on venomous animals, including Tarantulas and scorpions. Should a vendor at a show in Pennsylvania have to ask everyone who's buying a scorpion where they live and know the laws for every state?

@Tihsho , thank you for putting this together.
 

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I respectfully disagree.

An extra due diligence of accountability on our end is a positive to how we operate and present to the public.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is very good, very useful.

However I think it is the responsibility of any vendor who sells a regulated species to know all the laws regarding such, and to educate prospective buyers. They should ask, and they should be able to provide the data.
Agreed, but let's be real. Not all vendors are there as hobbyists that are selling their captive bred stock and looking to educate. With any outlet that can be profitable, there are the handful of people who get in it solely for the money. It's the responsibility of the clientele to know what they are getting into as well as to ask the pertinent questions. More so, I believe it's the responsibility of the clientele to not purchase from vendors who are not selling ethically produced and maintained species. If someone is an obivious business person who just got into the animal world to make a profit and doesn't have the knowledge or passion for the animals they keep, I believe we should not be purchasing animals from those vendors. That also said, not everyone knows the laws of the states that they are not from. They could know their local laws and be selling at a neighboring state just because it's close. In that case, it would be nice to know the laws to tell people, but it's not their job to.

If ANYTHING I believe it's on the event coordinators to put up signs in regards to this. If I were a coordinator, I'd make sure that pamphlets were provided to everyone so that THEY could know their local laws.

@Tihsho 's point is that if you're at an expo that it shouldn't be up to the vendor to know the laws in a neighboring state. For example if I live in New York State and go to a show in New Jersey, the vendor in New Jersey shouldn't have to ask me where I'm from and know the laws for New York State, only the laws for the state in which they are vending at a show. Otherwise, you're expecting A LOT from vendors.

For example: New York city has restrictions on venomous animals, including Tarantulas and scorpions. Should a vendor at a show in Pennsylvania have to ask everyone who's buying a scorpion where they live and know the laws for every state?

@Tihsho , thank you for putting this together.
That's basically the big chunk of what I was getting at. It would be nice if the vendors asked, but at the end of the day the buyers should know the laws. Technically, when it comes to any sale of anything, no matter where you live you're allowed to purchase what you want. It's whether or not it can cross into the state you live that's the legality, and that's what a lot of vendors across all aspects of sales focus on.
 

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Modeling of behaviors in the animal genre takes place from vendor to client.

The atmosphere of most shows doesn't foster pre researched customers.

It is Real, it just requires more effort and acknowledges that there is an intrinsic difference between live animal trade and the trade of things.

It also requires the willingness to lose sales.

I think I will depart from this topic.

It's a great post tho. Thank you for taking the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The atmosphere of most shows doesn't foster pre researched customers.
This is an extremely poignant and factual point. That's why I agree that some events need to not be publicly advertised, but instead spread around within the internal hobby community. If I had the time and the group of people to assist, I'd be all about setting up an educational booth at a lot of these shows that show everything you need to correctly keep a lot of the species of fauna that get sold at these events. Not only would there be actual displays setup of what people should have already waiting at home for their new animals, but I'd want to go over the acclimation processes for these newly homed animals, what you SHOULD be doing daily/weekly/monthly for their care, as well as show the progression of enclosures some species will need and when they will need them. Personally though, I think if I bought a booth and ran this, I would be denied to return as this would impact sales at the show which would have vendors complaining to the event coordinator. Overall this would probably require myself to setup my own 'ethically' guided event which I don't have the time for.


It is Real, it just requires more effort and acknowledges that there is an intrinsic difference between live animal trade and the trade of things.
I wouldn't limit it to 'live animals' per se, but more so 'live sales' period.

It also requires the willingness to lose sales.
Again, great point! That's why on another thread I posted that I wish local groups could setup swap meets for their local region. This would reduce and almost remove the variable of pedestrian traffic and uneducated sales. It would promote the hobby to those who had enough information to be in it, as well as provide a local availability to reduce shipping losses. The problem that falls on that side is limited availability of product and species. It would be nice to have a Dendroboard meet where local hobbyists could meet up and sell/trade supplies and frogs, but what are the chances that people would want to show up? There is a possibility where 50% of the people that show up from that region are there to find something and be disappointed to find out it's not there. That's where you get the breeders involved, but remember, they need to make the bottom line to make it worthwhile to them. It's one thing if it's a few hour drive for someone who is looking to pick something up, it's a whole other story for a breeder to select items and animals to bring, pack them up, transport them and at the end of the event leave with little to nothing to cover their transportation costs and possible over night stay. We can't have our cake and eat it too.


It's a great post tho. Thank you for taking the time.
Much appreciated. I just wanted to make sure information was available on a topic that I know is gravely overlooked. I've worked events in the aquarium side before and brought my own fauna and flora to these events so I know how it works from the vendor side as well as the patron side of a live animal event. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people at a Maryland event purchase baby Piranhas from an importer that shows up, to be arguing about returning them to the seller when they found out from some other patron that Piranhas are illegal to own in Virginia. Some people don't care and keep them anyways (that's on you if you decide to be one of those people, I will never advocate that choice), but others who want to be law abiding citizens need to have the information publicly available so they can make an informed choice. Sales are sales at most if not all places and it's sad that the sales of an animal are treated the same as the sales of say a car. Once you buy it, it's up to the sellers discretion if they accept returns. WE as hobbyists need to educate the public so that 'returns' are not a problem that crops up from poor or uninformed choices. We need to make sure that people know what they are getting into and what is about to change in their lives when picking up a live animal. We need to make sure they are not just buying a piece of art, but need to house their animals appropriately, feed them appropriately and overall care for them appropriately. Being part of this community of animal husbandry isn't just the personal gratification we get from our animals, but making sure that others are educated if they want to join it.
 

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“Wait a minute… aren’t Western Hognoses technically venomous?” Yes, yes they are! Great catch! This is the only venomous snake that you can easily and legally obtain as a Maryland resident.
Semantic point, but many (all?) garter snakes are "technically venomous".

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0041010181900799

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jmor.1051750305

Further (and farther afield), the claim that Heterodon are properly considered venomous is contentious, since the evidence that they have a specialized injection mechanism (grooved fangs) is weak.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/heterodon
 

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Discussion Starter #9
All good points Soc! I'm just posting the information from DNR and general discussions that come up with concerns about certain species being sold in Maryland. Speaking of Garters, I have not seen many if any being sold at shows.

A lot of laws across the world don't make sense, and Maryland happens to be a state where silly rules based on silly logic is common. Sadly, this limits a few things on various hobbies, but more specifically impacts the non Zoo/researcher herp keepers in the state.
 

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Thank you for posting this, its definitely helpful for Marylander's. I saw this list for the first time a few months back when I was looking into getting a salamander. Most of it doesn't affect a casual hobbyist but the complete prohibition of Tiger Salamanders is something you can fall into without realizing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for posting this, its definitely helpful for Marylander's. I saw this list for the first time a few months back when I was looking into getting a salamander. Most of it doesn't affect a casual hobbyist but the complete prohibition of Tiger Salamanders is something you can fall into without realizing it.
Not a problem. Glad to help!

Captive bred tiger salamanders are a dime a dozen out of state. So I completely agree. The one exotic that always has peoples head scratching were caimans. Back in the 90's and early 2000's I knew of at least 5 brick and mortar stores within the state that had them for sale, and at the time they were legal! To this day I still read of seized caimans in Maryland because people didn't know they were deemed prohibited.
 
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