What's the process for obtaining a Restricted species permit?

Jake

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
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This should be an interesting one. Found this over on Reddit in a community called r/VenomousKeepers. I think this is a question people would find informative, so here we are. The user would like to know what the process is like when obtaining a restricted species permit in Ohio, as he owns mangrove snakes and false water cobras. They are mostly concerned with the written test, as they were unable to find anything on it and are unsure what kind of questions would be asked. What he found was far too vague and only went over basic care and the scientific names for the snakes. The written test is only given to those who only have less than 2 years of experience caring for the snakes.

He is also on the lookout for vets who are able to provide care for these snakes, as he is also required to have a written statement from a vet. What is the process for obtaining a restricted species permit? It sounds like it will be a challenge for him, but I think it makes sense to go through these steps to ensure that you're well prepared to care for these animals and ensure others are safe from them as well.

You can read this reddit users question here - Reddit Post.
 
Location
Ohio, United States

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Yeah this is a tricky one. Getting a restricted species permit isn't an easy thing to do. Especially when they're venomous snakes, such as, mangrove snakes and false water cobras. The written test will usually cover most things on care of the species, what diets they need, their habitat needs, and of course health management. And of course like the Redditor said, having to know their scientific classification. It sounds like this person knows how to properly care for their snakes, but who knows if they know enough to pass the written test.

Finding a vet to provide you with a written note is not going to be easy either. You will need to find a vet willing to care for these venomous snakes. Most vets don't take in restricted animals, at least to my knowledge. Which means you may need to find a vet capable of caring for such animals. If you have a vet or know of a vet who cares for exotic animals, you could look into that as an option. They sometimes care for venomous animals.

The first step comes down to reaching out to your local state's fish and wildlife department, so that you can obtain more clarity on the overall process, and what needs to be done in order to file a proper permit.
 
Thanks for sharing this, @Jake. I found it interesting that you can get a restricted species permit by having "2 years experience with the animal prior." I guess that means if you owned a water cobra for 2+ years in Florida, then decided to move (with your cobra) to Ohio, they wouldn't subject you to the same testing requirements. Or maybe if you had experience caring for exotic animals at a zoo, they'd let you go ahead and own one?

The written test will usually cover most things on care of the species, what diets they need, their habitat needs, and of course health management.

Personally, I think this is common sense. The state wants to test you to make sure you'd be a responsible pet owner so what kinds of questions do you think they'd ask? If I were the Redditor, I'd just make sure I understood what kinds of foods I'd need to give it and what kind of enclosure I'd need to keep it in and have a basic understand of common health issues. I mean, if you're about to get a king cobra (or any pet), you should naturally want to know these details, right? The same goes for finding a vet. I guess my point is, if the Redditor's fundamentally focused on being a responsible cobra owner, the state testing and vet paperwork requirements should be an afterthought.
 
I have no experience in this regard because I have never raised any restricted species. However, I believe you should familiarize yourself with federal and state regulations on owning restricted species. You need to find out about the specific permit required for the intended activity, and provide detailed information about the purpose and safeguards to the related permit agencies.
 
So you'd need a permit just for owning the pet, rather than breeding them and selling them to the public? That's so surprising to me. I guess it shouldn't be surprising, though, since those snakes can do real damage.
 
Yeah this is a tricky one. Getting a restricted species permit isn't an easy thing to do. Especially when they're venomous snakes, such as, mangrove snakes and false water cobras. The written test will usually cover most things on care of the species, what diets they need, their habitat needs, and of course health management. And of course like the Redditor said, having to know their scientific classification. It sounds like this person knows how to properly care for their snakes, but who knows if they know enough to pass the written test.

Finding a vet to provide you with a written note is not going to be easy either. You will need to find a vet willing to care for these venomous snakes. Most vets don't take in restricted animals, at least to my knowledge. Which means you may need to find a vet capable of caring for such animals. If you have a vet or know of a vet who cares for exotic animals, you could look into that as an option. They sometimes care for venomous animals.

The first step comes down to reaching out to your local state's fish and wildlife department, so that you can obtain more clarity on the overall process, and what needs to be done in order to file a proper permit.
Thank you for the answer. I had a feeling there was a lot that goes into taking ownership and care of restricted species, especially those being mangrove snakes and false water cobras.
Thanks for sharing this, @Jake. I found it interesting that you can get a restricted species permit by having "2 years experience with the animal prior." I guess that means if you owned a water cobra for 2+ years in Florida, then decided to move (with your cobra) to Ohio, they wouldn't subject you to the same testing requirements. Or maybe if you had experience caring for exotic animals at a zoo, they'd let you go ahead and own one?
No problem, was happy to post it here. And yeah, I think the 2 years experience is key, this means that not many people would be able to own these types of restricted species. Which makes sense of course, because we also don't want a bunch of people having the right to own these restricted animals without first having some experience with them.
 
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