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Illegal and Regulated Species

Illegal species

Very few species of animals are illegal to keep in the UK, many native species are protected in law and keeping is either prohibited or regulated by licensing. However, some species are prohibited under retained EU Invasive Alien Species Legislation. 

Illegal species to keep

The EU Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Regulation (1143/2014) came into force on 1 January 2015 and imposes strict restrictions on a list of species known as “species of Union concern”.  These are species of plants and animals whose potential adverse impacts across the European Union are such that concerted action across Europe is deemed necessary to prohibit their possession.   The first list of 37 species (23 animals and 14 plants) was approved at a meeting of EU Member States in December 2015. 

Currently only slider terrapins of the genus Trachemys scripta are listed, including all of the subspecies NOT just the red-eared slider Trachemys scripta elegans. And American Bullfrogs Lithobates (Rana) catesbeianus are prohibited.

If you had any of the species in your possession before the regulation came into effect (2018), you have grandfather rights to keep the animal but you are not permitted to breed or sell the animals.  


UK Non-native Species regulations

Home » NNSS (

EU IAS Regulation

EUR-Lex - 32014R1143 - EN - EUR-Lex (



Dangerous Wild Animals Act

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 regulates the keeping of animals that are scheduled as being dangerous, this includes venomous snakes, venomous lizards, crocodilians, some scorpions and spiders.   


Licenses to keep species scheduled on the Dangerous Wild Animals Act are issued by the relevant Local Authority, details for applications can be found on their websites.


Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (


Find your local council

Find your local council - GOV.UK (


Convention of Trade on International Trade in Endangered of Species of Wild Fauna & Flora (CITES)

CITES regulates the trade in some species of reptiles and amphibians,  



Front | CITES

For more information on UK CITES, applications for permits etc

Import or export endangered species: check if you need a CITES permit - GOV.UK (


To check if a species is listed on CITES

Species+ (


Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations (COTES)

The Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations 2018 (


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