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New MD regs effective March 31st

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Posted by: Katrina at Fri Mar 7 14:45:06 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Katrina ]  

Basically, if you keep eastern and/or midland painteds in MD:

You can have one (one of both species) without a permit. That one may be wild-caught from Maryland. If you have more than one, or you want to breed, you need a permit ($25 flat fee per year), and have PROOF that all but one of them was either bred in your possession, bred and given or sold to you by another MD permit holder, or acquired legally from out of state or through a rescue/rehabber.

If you have more than one of each species RIGHT NOW, you can have them grandfathered, but get your permit mailed in by March 31st, and state what you have, with descriptions of each turtle (including size, gender, distinguishing marks) and the common and scientific name.

So, if you have two or more easterns and/or midlands, you can legally keep them if you get a permit now without proof of how you acquired them. After March 31st, you'll need proof that you had them before March 31st to get a permit. A vet's record, a picture with a turtle on a newspaper with the date in the picture, sales receipt, etc., should work.

If you only have eastern and/or midland right now, you don't need a permit. If that one eastern lays eggs this spring, though, get yourself a permit before the eggs hatch!

Remember, though, that a permit gives DNR the right to inspect where you keep your reptiles (not your entire house, just the "reptile room" and your paperwork.


BAY WEEKLY (Annapolis, Maryland) 28 February 08 Reptile Rules

New state regulations protect creatures that hop, crawl and slither
(Carrie Madren)

Host a copperhead snake as a pet in Maryland, and you'll soon be an outlaw.

That's because new rules will govern the capture and possession of reptiles and amphibians after March.

Nearly a dozen changed regulations will affect Maryland turtle
keeping or frog leg eating. Most new rules will simply get our
Maryland Register code up to date with new laws. Other changes will
protect diminishing species losing their homes.
The poisonous copperhead and Eastern mud salamander will join the
list of protected species a handful of sea turtles, rare
salamanders, snakes and frogs that cannot be captured, bred or
sold in the state.

Copperhead snakes get banned from our living spaces not to protect
the snakes but to bring Department of Natural Resources regulations
up to speed on laws passed by the General Assembly. Last year,
legislators changed the law on harboring dangerous animals to ban
possession of poisonous snakes. That's stricter than the current
law, which only bans importing the venomous serpents.
The Eastern mud salamander, a rare native species, gets protection
for its own sake.

"These salamanders are likely declining in range," says Glenn
Therres, of the department's Wildlife and Heritage Service. "It's
not a popular species as a pet, so there will probably be no
French chefs and 10-year-old boys will mourn one cutback: New
regulations allow you no more than 10 wild American bullfrogs for
food or pets. Bullfrogs weren't previously on the list of regulated

"Bullfrogs are native, but they have flourished by human releases,"
says Therres. "There's a food market for bullfrogs. We're trying to
regulate all species, so we added bullfrogs and made provisions for
food. We're not trying to regulate the food industry but to curtail
exploiting the native population."
So you can't set up shop as a frog-leg distributor. The legs you
might find at markets may hail from Louisiana, which raises
bullfrogs for food.
New to the state conservation list are six aquatic turtles: the
eastern painted turtle, the midland painted turtle, the eastern mud turtle, the northern red-bellied cooter, the stinkpot and the diamondback terrapin. Turtle enthusiasts can have up to one adult turtle without a $25 permit and more with the permit.
If you're already keeping more than one native turtle, you must
apply for a grandfathering permit with DNR by March 31.
If you want your turtles to propagate, you'll also need a breeding permit.

"A few years ago the General Assembly was petitioned by herpetology folks to allow for breeding of turtles," Therres says. The Health Department had previously limited breeding for fear of spreading salmonella, he explained, until lawmakers passed a law allowing turtle breeding with a permit.
"DNR was always in support of captive breeding, which provides
turtles for hobbyists and pets," says Therres. If you don't breed the turtles yourself with a permit you must buy them from out of state. Currently, any turtle that you sell must have a carapace length of at least four inches.

That law got a Towson couple in trouble on Jan. 31. Maryland Natural Resources Police busted them for selling undersized juvenile red-eared slider turtles through an Internet advertisement. The couple had originally purchased 300 turtles and had sold all but 27 of them from their apartment. For their reptilian folly, the sellers were each issued a citation; if found guilty, they'll face a maximum penalty of $500 and/or one-year imprisonment.

New changes in the law include allowing us to buy and sell baby
turtles less than four inches produced in captivity, with a
permit outside of Maryland.
"We don't have a problem with turtles in the pet trade, but we're encouraging that they come from captivity, so there's less pressure on wild populations and they can be sustained," he says.
Terrapin champion Marguerite Whilden insists it's a bad idea to
allow people to breed and keep terrapins as pets.
"Now we're going to give to someone else the chance to commercialize
these turtles," says Whilden, terrapin teacher and advocate. "Do we still need to be exploiting wildlife?"

The new herp laws will be a good, albeit miniscule, step for our
state reptile. When new regulations pass, Marylanders even with a permit can't take wood turtles, spotted turtles or diamondback terrapins, our state reptile, from the wild.

"You can still legally acquire them from captive breeding programs,"
Therres says, with a permit. After the legislators passed the ban on commercial terrapin harvesting, DNR banned all catching in the wild.
The department also shifted terrapin regulations from its fisheries office to Wildlife and Heritage.
Even so, the there's by-catch or accidental trapping of
terrapins in crabpots that remains a problem, according to Whilden, who says her next focus is getting more habitat back for the state turtle. That's a concern at DNR, too.
"The problem with all turtles is that population decreases primarily with reduction of adults in population," Therres says. Add a shrinking adult population to disappearing sandy shorelines and turtle habitat, and we have a recipe for species trouble.

The state of our terrapins remains an educated guess at best.
Terrapins are still so understudied that scientists don't know how many thrive in the Chesapeake.

Laws will officially change when published in March in the Maryland Register.

See the complete list of changes to reptile and amphibian laws at


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