What Snakes are Legal to Own in Maine

Welcome to our article on the legal ownership of snakes in Maine. As professional copywriting journalists, we understand the importance of knowing the laws and regulations surrounding snake ownership in order to ensure responsible and lawful pet ownership. In this article, we will provide you with an overview of what species of snakes are legal to own in Maine, the permits and regulations required, and the implications of owning restricted or prohibited species.

Whether you’re a seasoned snake owner or considering getting your first snake, understanding the legality of owning these fascinating creatures is crucial. So let’s dive into the details of snake ownership in Maine and learn more about the specific rules and regulations.

Before we proceed, take a moment to appreciate this captivating image of a snake in its natural habitat:

Key Takeaways:

  • Maine has strict laws regarding the ownership of snakes.
  • The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife regulates snake possession in the state.
  • There are unrestricted, prohibited, restricted, and unclassified species of snakes in Maine.
  • Certain species of snakes require permits for possession and ownership.
  • Snake owners must comply with the regulations to ensure the well-being of the snakes and the protection of native wildlife.

Unrestricted Species

According to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, there is a list of unrestricted species of snakes that do not require an importation, exhibition, or possession permit. These snakes can be legally owned in Maine without any special permits or regulations. It is important for snake owners to ensure that they are properly caring for these unrestricted species and maintaining their well-being in a humane and safe manner.

There are several unrestricted species of snakes that can be owned in Maine without any permits or regulations. These species include:

  • Common Garter Snake
  • Eastern Milk Snake
  • Northern Ringneck Snake
  • Eastern Red-bellied Snake

These species are commonly found in Maine and are considered non-threatened and non-endangered. However, even though these species do not require permits, snake owners should still provide them with proper care, including appropriate enclosure setup, feeding, and regular veterinary check-ups.

Table: Unrestricted Snake Species in Maine

Species Scientific Name
Common Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis
Eastern Milk Snake Lampropeltis triangulum
Northern Ringneck Snake Diadophis punctatus
Eastern Red-bellied Snake Storeria occipitomaculata

Prohibited Species

In Maine, there are certain species of snakes that are prohibited to possess or own. These species have been deemed to pose significant risks to the native flora and fauna, public welfare, or domestic animals in the state. It is crucial for snake owners to be aware of these prohibitions and refrain from acquiring or possessing any prohibited species to ensure compliance with the law.

Currently, the list of prohibited species in Maine includes monk parakeets and mute swans. These species can only be possessed by accredited research facilities, and permits are only granted in cases where there is a significant public benefit. These restrictions are in place to protect the local ecosystem and prevent any potential harm that may arise from the introduction of these species.

Table: Prohibited Species in Maine

Species Reason for Prohibition
Monk Parakeets Potential impact on native bird populations
Mute Swans Potential aggression towards humans and other wildlife

It is important for snake owners and enthusiasts to familiarize themselves with the list of prohibited species in Maine and ensure that they are not in possession of any of these prohibited snakes. Adhering to these regulations helps protect the state’s native wildlife, maintain ecological balance, and promote responsible pet ownership.

Restricted Species in Maine: Understanding the Permits and Regulations

restricted species in Maine

When it comes to owning snakes in Maine, certain species fall under the category of “restricted.” This means that before these snakes can be possessed, imported, exhibited, propagated, or rehabilitated, a permit is required. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has established two categories of restricted species: Category 1 and Category 2.

Category 1 restricted species include threatened and endangered snakes, as well as species listed on the CITES Appendix I. Additionally, snakes listed as “endangered,” “critically endangered,” or “extinct in the wild” on the IUCN Red List also fall under this category. Category 2 restricted species, on the other hand, require special housing or care that can only be provided by individuals with specific training or experience.

To ensure compliance with the regulations, snake owners who wish to own restricted species must obtain the necessary permits and meet the requirements set forth by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. These permits help ensure that the snakes are properly cared for and their well-being is prioritized. By obtaining the permits, snake owners demonstrate their commitment to responsible pet ownership and the conservation of these restricted species.

Table: Restricted Species Categories in Maine

Category Criteria
Category 1 Threatened and endangered species
Species listed on CITES Appendix I
Species listed as “endangered,” “critically endangered,” or “extinct in the wild” on the IUCN Red List
Category 2 Species requiring special housing or care that can only be provided by individuals with specific training or experience

By respecting the regulations surrounding restricted species, snake owners play a crucial role in the preservation of these snakes and their habitats. It is important to stay informed about any updates or changes in the categorization of species in Maine and to submit requests for review or change through the appropriate channels if necessary.

Unclassified Species

When it comes to the ownership of snakes in Maine, it’s essential to understand the categorization of species to ensure legal compliance. While some snakes are unrestricted and can be owned without special permits, others fall into the category of prohibited or restricted species. However, there is also a category of snakes that remains unclassified, and it’s important for snake owners to be aware of this classification.

Unclassified species of snakes in Maine are those that have not been categorized as either unrestricted, prohibited, or restricted. Currently, unclassified species are not eligible for a permit and cannot be legally owned in Maine. It’s essential for snake owners to be knowledgeable about the classification status of their snakes to avoid any legal issues and to ensure the well-being of both the snakes and the surrounding wildlife.

Why are some species unclassified?

The unclassified status of certain snake species in Maine may be due to various reasons. It could be that these species are relatively new to the area and have not yet been thoroughly studied or evaluated. In some cases, the classification of a species may also be pending, awaiting further research or assessment.

Snake owners should stay updated with the latest information from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife regarding any changes in the categorization of snake species. It’s important to note that even if a species is currently unclassified, it does not necessarily mean it can be owned without permits or regulations. Careful consideration should always be given to the legal requirements and responsibilities of snake ownership to ensure the preservation of native wildlife and to maintain a safe and ethical environment for the snakes.

Category Classification
Unclassified Species Not categorized as unrestricted, prohibited, or restricted

Requests to Review or Change Categorization of a Species

In certain situations, individuals or organizations may submit requests to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to review or change the categorization of a species in Maine. These requests must be made using the application forms provided by the department, and the burden of proof lies with the applicant to demonstrate why a species should be assigned to a specific category.

The commissioner of the department carefully evaluates these requests based on the criteria established by the department. The review process may involve scientific research, expert opinions, and consideration of the potential impact on Maine’s native flora, fauna, and public welfare. It is important for snake owners to respect the current categorization of species in Maine and to comply with the relevant regulations until a formal change is approved.

By engaging in the appropriate channels and providing compelling evidence, individuals or organizations can contribute to the ongoing management and conservation efforts related to snake species in Maine. This process ensures that decisions about the categorization of species are well-informed and based on scientific knowledge and expertise.


In conclusion, understanding the legalities and regulations surrounding the ownership of snakes in Maine is crucial for responsible and lawful pet ownership. By familiarizing ourselves with the permitted and prohibited species, obtaining the necessary permits for restricted species, and complying with all regulations, we can ensure the well-being of our snakes and contribute to the preservation and conservation of wildlife in Maine.

It is important to note that there are unrestricted species of snakes that can be owned without any special permits or regulations. However, for restricted species, such as those categorized as threatened, endangered, or requiring specialized care, obtaining the appropriate permits is necessary.

We must also be aware of the prohibited species that pose risks to Maine’s natural environment, public welfare, or domestic animals. These species are strictly regulated, and it is crucial to avoid owning or acquiring any prohibited species to comply with the law.

By adhering to the laws and regulations surrounding snake ownership in Maine, we not only ensure our own legal compliance but also contribute to the protection of Maine’s native wildlife. Responsible ownership and compliance with regulations are key to maintaining a balance between enjoying the experience of owning a snake and preserving the natural ecosystem of the state.