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Bill That Would Require Snake Ownership Standards, Permits Introduced In Ohio

If passed, law would require owners to meet certain standards and pay yearly permit fees to keep or breed certain snakes.

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Ohio state Sen. Troy Balderson has introduced SB 310, a bill that will subject owners of constricting and venomous snakes to care standards as outlined by the Zoological Association of America and will have to apply for a Restricted Snake Possession Permit in order to keep the snakes as a pet. The listed snakes can still be bought and sold. They are not banned.

In order to breed snakes, a Restricted Snake Propagation Permit must be applied for. The propagation permit requires the purchase of insurance, proper anti-venom for those breeding venomous snakes, and an action plan in the event of an escape. The snakes that would be affected by this bill, if passed, includes boas, all species of anacondas, reticulated pythons, burmese/indian pythons, northern/southern African rock pythons, amethystine pythons and all venomous snakes.


The cost of the permits will be based on the number of snakes you intend to keep and if you intend to breed the animals. If you keep between one to three snakes, the permit will cost $100 annually. For those with four to 15 snakes, the permit will cost $300, and for those with more than 16 snakes, the permit will cost $500. Propagation permits, which will enable the breeding and selling of these snakes, will cost $200 for up to three snakes, $600 for four to 15 snakes, and $1000 for more than 16 snakes.

In order to keep the listed snakes regardless if they are pets or for breeding purposes, proof of liability insurance is required in the following amounts: Up to five snakes requires $100,000; six to 15 snakes requires $250,000; and more than 16 snakes requires $500,000 in liability insurance. Owners of boa constrictors will require less liability insurance: up to five boas will require $5,000; six to 15 boas will require $10,000; and more than 16 boas will require $15,000.

An escape plan is also required in order to keep any of the listed snakes. That plan must be submitted to local law enforcement as well as the county sheriff. All escapes must be reported to law enforcement and the Department of Agriculture, and the owner of the snake will be responsible for any costs incurred as a result of the escape.  You must also have proof that a veterinarian sees your snakes, must maintain a record of each animal in your possession, including the scientific name of the snake as well as where or who you purchased the snake from, date you acquired the snake, date of birth if bred by you, name and address of who you sold the snakes to, and date of death or escape.

For those keeping venomous snakes, you will be required to have two years of experience or pass a written care and safety exam issued by the Department of Agriculture in order to keep the snakes. You must have anti-venom in your possession and will be liable for any bites, and you must post a sign at the main entrance of your property (and on vehicles that transport them) detailing that a venomous snake is on the property.