Controlled Exotic Snake Permit (a.k.a. Nonindigenous Snake Permit)

Frequently Asked Questions

Relating to the Possession, Purchase, Sale, or Transportation of Certain Snakes

Q. What statute regulates the possession of certain species of non-indigenous constrictor and venomous snakes?
A. Parks and Wildlife (PWC) Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter V.
Q. What snakes are regulated by PWC, Chapter 43, Subchapter V?
A. All non-indigenous (species not native to Texas) venomous snakes and the following constrictors: African rock python (Python sebae), Asiatic rock python (Python molurus), green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), reticulated python (python reticulates), and southern African python (Python natalensis).
Q. When does the new statute take effect?
A. Effective September 01, 2007, no person may intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence release or allow the release from captivity of a snake covered by the statute. The statute also requires the department to implement a permit for the possession and transport of non-indigenous venomous snakes and constrictors by April 1, 2008. After that time, a permit will be required for the possession or transport of any regulated snake.
Q. Has the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) adopted new regulations under the authority of PWC, Chapter 43, Subchapter V?
A. Yes. TPWD has adopted new regulations (31 TAC §§55.651-65.656) governing the possession, transportation, release and permitting.
Q. Where can I get a permit?
A. Permits will be available directly from the department and wherever licenses are sold. The permits will be available on April 01, 2008.
Q. Will I be allowed to breed or sell snakes regulated by the department?
A. Yes. TPWD has established a commercial permit for breeding and/or sale of regulated snakes.
Q. What permits are available?
A. Permits available are:
  • $20.00 – Recreational Controlled Exotic Snakes (RCES) Permit (Item 580):
    • Allows possession and/or transportation of an unlimited number of snakes, but does not allow sale.
    • Sales receipt for purchase of affected snake serves as a 21-day temporary RCES permit for purchaser.
  • $60.00 – Commercial Controlled Exotic Snakes (CCES) Permit (Item 581):
    • Allows possession, transportation, and/or sale of an unlimited number of snakes.
    • CCES permit required and must be maintained on premises for each permanent place of business.
    • Legible copy of CCES permit required on permittee's person if regulated activity occurs off-site.
    • Daily activity log for purchases and sales must be maintained and available for inspections - Commercial Controlled Exotic Snake Permit Report (PWD 1195) media download(Word 105.5 KB).
Q. Are hybrids species governed by the statute?
A. Yes. Anyone who possesses, buys, or sells hybrids of a listed species must obtain an appropriate permit.
Q. Are there exceptions that allow individuals to be exempt from obtaining the permit?
A. Yes. State or county officials performing official duties; licensed zoos and research facilities; and individuals assisting a TPWD employee in handling or transporting regulated snakes are exempt from obtaining a permit.
Q. Can I release a regulated snake into the wild?
A. No. A person who intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence releases a regulated snake from captivity commits a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $4,000; and/or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year.
Q. What are the penalties for violating the rules?
A. A person convicted of a violation of this subchapter or a rule adopted under this subchapter may not obtain a permit before the fifth anniversary of the date of the conviction [§43.851(e)].
A violation of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter V, or a rule adopted by the commission under authority of Chapter 43, Subchapter V is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of between $25 and $500.
The release of a controlled exotic snake, is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of between $500 and $4,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.
Q. Where can I obtain a copy of the statutes and regulations?
A. Please visit to review statutes and regulations.
Statutes – (Parks and Wildlife Code) Chapter 43, Subchapter V §43.851 - §43.856
Regulations – (Administrative Code) Chapter 55 Subchapter J §55.652 - §55.657