Can you have a Bearded Dragon as a Pet in Australia?
In Australia keeping bearded dragons is controlled by state government departments and a licence is generally required to keep them. All states will only allow the native species of Pogona to be kept in the state. The exception is Tasmania where bearded dragons do not naturally occur. It is on a pest watch there to ensure it doesn’t invade and the state will not allow anyone to keep them as pets.
In any state, to protect wildlife, the authorities will seize animals that have not been obtained legally and legal action may be pursued. The best course of action is to contact your state authorities prior to obtaining any bearded dragon to confirm requirements.
Where ever a license is required, the seller much ensure you have a license before they sell to you. You will have to provide them with evidence so take your certificate. On the other hand you need to check the seller has a licence. In any state requiring a license there will also be a requirement to submit paperwork either annually or as bearded dragons come and go from your care.
Getting a license does sound onerous but it is a good thing if it improves the lives of captive reptiles. It certainly cuts down on impulse buying which is a blessing for any animal.
Australian Capital Territory Licensing Requirements
This is the most lenient state of all with no licence required for the Eastern Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbatus). Pogona barbatus is classed as Category A meaning captive-bred reptiles that anyone with no prior experience can keep. For the Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) you need a Category B licence which requires two years experience in Category A animal keeping.
The licence has a 5 year life, costs about $40 and the application is a little lengthy. Applicants must be 15 years and over. The application will be assessed against the Reptile Policy and they like to see in the application general proof of ability to care for your reptile and competence, include photos.
Find more information at the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate – Environment website.
New South Wales Reptile Keepers licence
New South Wales residents have the greatest choice of bearded dragons to choose from. Absolutely no reptiles are exempt from licensing. Species are separated into classes and the majority of bearded dragons are listed as class 1. The applicant must be over 16 years of age so for children, parents must submit the licence application. The application form is basic. Two years is around $70 and 5 years is around $150. The following species are listed by the Department as being Class 1:
- Eastern (Common) Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata)
- Downs Bearded Dragon (Pogona henrylawsoni)
- Western Bearded Dragon (Pogona minor minima)
- Dwarf Bearded Dragon (Pogona minor minor)
- Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
The following species are listed by the Department as being Class 2:
- Small-scaled Bearded Dragon (Pogona microlepidota)
New South Wales Department of Environment and Heritage has a Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Reptiles which has mandatory and recommended guidelines for keeping reptiles.
Northern Territory Wildlife Carers Permit
Under the Parks and Wildlife Commission the Dwarf Bearded Dragon (Pogona minor) and Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) is in the Least Concern classification which is related to its conservation status. In other words, they aren’t endangered and the state doesn’t see them at risk.
The Central Bearded Dragon may be kept without a permit as long as they were obtained lawfully.
Victoria – Private Wildlife Licence
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries requires a licence to keep Bearded Dragons. They class the Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) and Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) as Schedule 3 reptile and the Downs Bearded Dragon (Pogona henrylawsoni) is Schedule 4.
The application will take a bit of time. Does require you to keep a record book which the Department issues.
Queensland – Recreational wildlife licence (birds, reptiles, amphibians)
Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection requires applicants to be over 13 years old. The form isn’t overly onerous. No restrictions on which species of Bearded Dragon you can keep but a maximum of 2 under the standard licence. Must maintain a record book which is not difficult. Cost of licence is approximately $70.
Western Australia – Pet herpetofauna keeper’s licence
A licence is required in Western Australia through the Department of Parks and Wildlife to keep the Western Bearded Dragon (Pogona minor minor) which is classified as Category 2, the only one that can be kept in WA. The Reptiles that can be kept in Western Australia are listed in in the Approved Reptile Keeping List 2016.
A record book must be kept which is returned to the department annually.The application form requires a bit of work and goes into personal experience and ability. Requires written reference/s and the referries experience and description of facilities amongst other things. Licences for Category 2 are from $20 for one year to $40 for 3 years. Licence holders must be 14 years and over. For further information on licencing Herpetofauna go to the DPAW website.
Tasmania Herpetology Permit
Can you keep a bearded dragon in Tasmania? Not as a pet. Bearded dragons don’t live in Tasmania naturally and they are a prohibited import. For more information go to the Parks and Wildlife Services Herpetology website page.
South Australia – Permit to keep and sell protected animals
Under the control of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources 1 bearded dragon can be kept without a licence, for more a licence is required.
Requires a record book to be kept. Reasonably easy form. Three options for licence duration are 1 year $65, 3 years $190 and 5 years $320.
This information has been provided based on research and contact with state authorities, it is not guaranteed to be accurate at any point. Contact your state authorities prior to obtaining your Bearded Dragon.