Native animal pets

People have kept animals such as cats and dogs as pets for centuries. Keeping native animals as pets can also be a source of great enjoyment. You can keep and buy some native animals but you may require a licence. Some native animals (e.g. mammals) cannot be kept as pets.

In Australia, most nature conservation agencies believe the best place for our native animals is in the bush, not in a cage. Keep wildlife wild!

But those same agencies recognise that people are fascinated with our native wildlife and that some common species can be successfully domesticated. Many people appreciate native animals and the need to protect wildlife more when they get close to native animals.

You are allowed to keep some species of native animal, provided you follow the rules.

Anyone wanting to keep native birds, reptiles and frogs should become familiar with the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Nature Conservation (Wildlife Management) Regulation 2006.

Generally, you are not allowed to capture wild animals. Penalties apply.

However, you can enjoy watching the native animals, which live in your backyard, provided you do not attempt to confine those animals in any way.


Provided you lawfully obtain native birds and keep them under proper conditions, you can keep many species including budgerigars, cockatiels, Bourke's parrots, star and zebra finches, brown, king and stubble quail, and diamond and peaceful doves without getting a licence. These are called exempt birds. When you buy a native bird, keep a record of the source of that animal so you can prove it was legally purchased.

Some other birds, called controlled birds, may be kept for personal enjoyment without a licence but you are not allowed to buy or sell more than 10 controlled birds in a 12 month period. Examples are pale-headed rosellas or bar-shouldered doves.
If you want to keep other native bird species, you will have to apply for a licence from the department. You will only be allowed to keep certain species.


Rules also apply to keeping reptiles for personal enjoyment.

Generally, you can keep native reptiles only if you have a licence. A recreational wildlife licence may be granted to a child over the age of 13. However you must be 18 years or older if you want a licence for restricted animals. 'Restricted' animals include species that are rare or threatened in the wild or species that are venomous.

Further information

Further information on recreational wildlife licences can be found here.

Apply online for any recreational wildlife licence here.