Is it legal to own a pet snake?

Is one permitted to own a pet snake in Thailand? If so, where can I buy one?

Declan Smith, Phuket.

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There are 14 species of snake that are protected under the rules of the ONR, of which it is illegal to own all but two.

The 14 are: the reticulated python; Indian python; the blood python; the copperhead racer; the common Malayan racer; the red mountain racer; the black-striped mountain racer; the green mountain racer; the red-tailed racer; the king cobra; the Indochinese rat snake; the keeled rat snake; the Oriental rat snake; and the iridescent earth snake.

Of the 14, the two that may be owned legally are the reticulated python and the Indian python. You can buy them at Fang Thon snake markets in Bangkok and Sukhothai Province as those snakes are bred there.

You will be issued a receipt that you can present to the ONR in Bangkok, which will issue you a permit to own your snake or snakes that is valid for three years.

Apart from 14 types of protected snakes, you can own any other type of snake and as many of them as you want – as long as you can feed them.

However, please note that it is illegal to export live snakes, or even their skins, for trade.

An officer at the Office of Natural Resources (ONR).

Answered on January 10, 2007.
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