Madison Area Herpetological Society

Suggested Protocols for Venomous, Large Constrictors, and Crocodilians

  • Section I – Mishandling of reptiles declared public nuisance and criminal offense
    • The intentional or negligent exposure of other human beings or the environment to unsafe contact with reptiles that are venomous, with large constricting snakes, or with crocodilians being potentially injurious and detrimental to public health, safety and welfare, and the environment, the indulgence in and inducement to such exposure is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and a criminal offense, to be abated and punished as provided in this Article.
  • Section I, Subsection A – Regulation of Ownership or Use of Venomous Reptiles.
    • It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, use, transport or traffic in any venomous reptile that is not housed in the following manner:
      • Solid, Sealed, Escape Proof Cage with Adequate Ventilation
      • Tempered Glass Lockable Doors large enough to see entirety of cage
      • Visual “Danger Venomous Reptile” sticker at least 3”x5” affixed to the cage (See Example 1.1)
        • Label to include Common Name, Genus and Species, and Number of Animals in Enclosure
        • One square foot of usable space per one foot of snake length is required
    • A written bite protocol that includes emergency contact information, local animal control office, the name and location of suitable anti-venom, first aid procedures and treatment guidelines, as well as, an escape recover plan must be within sight of permanent housing in a RED Labeled Binder.  (See Sample “Post Snakebite Protocol Data” Sheets)
    • Animals must appear in healthy condition and in a clean, healthy environment with fresh, clean water and clean substrate free of feces and other waste.
      • No visual wounds, infections, abscesses, or tumors.
      • Free of External Parasites
      • Healthy body weight – Unable to see ribs
      • Animals must be kept within Preferred Optimal Temperature zone
      • Exception given to animals under Veterinary Care for any of the above-mentioned problems.  Must provide records of Veterinary Care.
  • Section I, Subsection B – Regulation of Ownership of Constricting Snakes Over 10 Feet in Length
    • It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, use, transport or traffic in any large constricting snake over 10 feet in length that are not housed in the following manner:
      • Solid, Sealed, Escape Proof Cage with Adequate Ventilation
      • Tempered Glass Lockable Doors large enough to see entirety of cage
      • One square foot of usable space per one foot of snake length is required
    • Animals must appear in healthy condition and in a clean, healthy environment with fresh, clean water and clean substrate free of feces and other waste.
      • No visual wounds, infections, abscesses, or tumors.
      • Free of External Parasites
      • Healthy body weight – Unable to see ribs
      • Animals must be kept within Preferred Optimal Temperature zone
      • Exception given to animals under Veterinary Care for any of the above-mentioned problems.  Must provide records of Veterinary Care.
  • Section I, Subsection C – Regulation of Ownership of Crocodilians
    • It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, use, transport or traffic in any Crocodilian that is not house in the following manner:
      • Solid, Sealed, Escape Proof Cage with Adequate Ventilation
      • Enclosure must have adequate water space to allow animal to swim and adequate dry land for animals’ entire body to be removed from the water for basking.
      • Water filtration system must be sized to adequately filter water with both mechanical and biological filtration media.
      • Water must be heated to stay within a range of 74°F to 82°F.
    • Animals must appear in healthy condition and in a clean, healthy environment with fresh, clean water and clean substrate free of feces and other waste.
      • No visual wounds, infections, abscesses, or tumors.
      • Free of External Parasites
      • Healthy body weight – Unable to see ribs
      • Animals must be kept within Preferred Optimal Temperature zone
      • Exception given to animals under Veterinary Care for any of the above-mentioned problems.  Must provide records of Veterinary Care.
  • Section I, Subsection D – Prohibited Handling of Reptiles or Suggesting or Inducing Others to Handle
    • It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally mishandle any reptile of a species named in this Article in a way or manner that intentionally or negligently exposes another individual to unsafe contact with such reptiles.  It shall also be unlawful for any person to intentionally suggest, entice, invite, challenge, intimidate, exhort or otherwise induce or aid any person to handle or expose himself to any reptile of a species named in this Article in a way or manner that intentionally or negligently exposes another individual to unsafe contact with such reptile.  Safe and responsible handling of reptiles for purposes or animal husbandry, training, transport, exhibition and education is permitted
  • Section I, Subsection E – Investigation of Suspected Violations; Seizure and Examination of Reptiles; Disposition of Reptiles.
    • In any case in which any law-enforcement officer or animal control officer has probably cause under the law to believe that any of the provisions of this Article have been violated, it shall be the duty of such officer and he is hereby authorized, empowered, and directed to immediately investigate such violation or impending violation and to forthwith seize the reptile or reptiles involved, and all such officers are hereby authorized and directed to deliver such reptiles to Dane County Animal Control or to their designated representatives for examination for the purpose of ascertaining whether said reptiles are a venomous reptile, large constricting snake, or crocodilian subject to this Article.  If said reptile(s) is(are) found to be a venomous reptile, constricting snake over 10 feet, or crocodilian subject to this Article, Dane County Animal Control or its designated representative shall be empowered to determine final disposition of said reptile in a manner consistent with the safety of the public; but if the reptile is not a venomous reptile, constricting snake over 10 feet, or crocodilian subject to this Article and either no criminal warrants or indictments are initiated in connection with the reptile within 10 days of initial seizure, or a court of law determines that such reptile is not being owned, possessed, used, transported or trafficked in violation of this Article, then it shall be the duty of such officers to return said reptile to the person from whom they were seized within five days.
  • Section I, Subsection F – Arrest of Persons Violating Provisions of Article.
    • If upon examination by Dane County Animal Control as provided herein shows that such reptile is a venomous reptile, large constricting snake over 10 feet, or a crocodilian it shall be the duty of the officers making the seizure with probably cause to believe that such reptile is being owned, possessed, used, transported or trafficked in violation of this Article in addition to authorizing Dane County Animal Control or it’s designated representative to determine final disposition of such reptiles, also to arrest all persons violating any of the provisions of this Article.
  • Section I, Subsection G – Exemptions from Provisions of Article
    • This Article shall not apply to the possession, exhibition, or handling of reptiles by employees or agents of museums, laboratories, educational or scientific institutions, public or private, in the course of their educational or scientific work.
  • Section I, Subsection H – Civil Remedies and Criminal Penalties for Violation
    • Any person violating any of the provisions of this Article shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.
    • If a person other than the owner of the venomous reptile, large constricting snake over 10 feet, or crocodilian or such owners agent(s), suffer a life threatening injury or is killed as a result of a violation of this Article the owner shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
    • Any person intentionally releasing into the wild a non-native venomous reptile, a large constrictor over 10 feet, or a crocodilian shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.