Like all other wildlife species, reptiles and amphibians are regulated in Indiana by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) through rules in the Administrative Code. Below is a summary of regulations relating to reptiles and amphibians. For a complete list of regulations, visit www.IN.gov/legislative/iac/title312.html and look for Article 9, Rule 5. Rules change periodically. Please check the website for up-to-date information.
Can I collect reptiles and amphibians from the wild?
- An Indiana resident 18 or older must have a valid hunting or fishing license to collect reptiles and amphibians from the wild, unless exempt under state law in IC 14-22-11. Legal methods must be used.
- For all nongame species where collection is allowed, there is a daily bag limit of two and a possession limit of four for each species for the period of April 1-March 31 of the following year.
- The common snapping turtle, smooth softshell turtle, spiny softshell turtle, bullfrog and green frog are regulated by hunting and fishing laws in Indiana. Game turtles may be taken at anytime. Game frogs may be taken anytime except between April 30 and June 15. The daily bag limit for game frogs is 25 (in aggregate) and for game turtles is 25 (in aggregate). The possession limit is 50 for game frogs and 50 for game turtles. Please refer to the Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide or the Indiana Fishing Guide.
- The Indiana Department of Natural Resources does not encourage the keeping of turtles as pets, but does allow it if the turtle is obtained legally with a hunting or fishing license. Endangered species and eastern box turtles can not be collected from the wild or be sold in Indiana.
What is not allowed?
- Collection of endangered species, box turtles, and eggs of reptiles and amphibians.
- Collection of nongame reptiles and amphibians on all DNR properties.
- Releasing any reptile or amphibian collected from Indiana unless it has been held for less than 30 days, has not been housed (caged) with other animals, and is released at the original site of capture.
- Releasing any reptile or amphibian acquired outside of Indiana for the purpose of release or sale for release without an importation permit from the DNR.
- The sale of native reptiles and amphibians (including eggs, larvae, meat, shells and other parts), except as follows:
- Bullfrog and green frog tadpoles may be sold by holders of a fish haulers and suppliers permit or aquaculture permit if the tadpoles are a by-product of raising fish and if the tadpoles have a tail at least 1 inch long.
- The young of 8 species of native snakes may be sold by holders of a reptile captive breeder’s license.
- Albinistic, leucistic and xanthic specimens of Indiana’s native species may be sold if they were not collected from the wild.
- The sale of any turtle native to Indiana and taken from the wild or listed as an endangered species.
- The sale of any venomous reptile that are taken from the wild is prohibited.
- Keeping endangered turtles as pets.
When do I need a special permit?
- A scientific purposes license from the Division of Fish & Wildlife is required to collect reptiles and amphibians for scientific or educational purposes or to collect reptiles or amphibians on a DNR property, except for game turtles and game frogs taken on a property where hunting or fishing is authorized.
- A hunting or fishing license is required for those 18 years or older, unless exempt under state law, to take reptiles or amphibians from the wild.
I am a teacher. Can I collect tadpoles and bring them into my classroom for educational purposes?
With a hunting or fishing license, you may collect up to 4 of any non-endangered species of tadpole. However, it is likely that you cannot release them back into the wild (see information on releasing captive animals under “What is not allowed?”). You should be prepared to permanently take care of anything you collect. Wild animals in the classroom can create the impression for students that the animals are pets and that it is OK to collect and keep wildlife. We recommend taking your students outdoors to see wildlife or going on field trips to reputable nature centers, zoos, or museums.
Who is responsible for the management and conservation of Indiana’s reptiles and amphibians?
The Wildlife Diversity Program (WDP) is part of the Division of Fish & Wildlife within the DNR. WDP is responsible for over 750 species of nongame and endangered wildlife. Nongame refers to any animal species that is not traditionally pursued through hunting and fishing. In Indiana, nongame species make up more than 90 percent of the state’s mammals, birds, fish, mollusks, reptiles and amphibians. WDP receives no state tax appropriations; it is funded through voluntary donations to the Nongame Fund.
Sale of reptiles and amphibians
The sale of reptiles and amphibians taken from the wild in Indiana is prohibited.*
Exemptions are made for certain educational institutions, zoological parks and fish suppliers.
Bullfrog and green frog tadpoles may be sold by holders of a fish haulers and suppliers license or aquaculture permit if the tadpoles are a by-product of raising fish and if the tadpoles have a tail at least 1 inch long.
* Unless otherwise specified, these regulations apply to eggs, larva, meat, shells and other parts.