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Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network - Réseau 
  Canadien de Conservation des Amphibiens et des Reptiles

Legal Protection for Amphibians and Reptiles 
in Ontario

This page contains information on the:


PLEASE Note the following throughout this document :

  1. A "..." means that part of the original legislation has been omitted in order to keep the focus on reptiles and amphibians. Only sections pertaining directly or indirectly to reptiles and amphibians have been included

  2. If you are interested in other wildlife, do not refer to this text as important sections have likely been omitted.

  3. Otherwise the legislation is the original text in order to prevent any possible complications due to a change of wording.

  4. Where a brief explanation was deemed necessary and anywhere else we added words that do not appear in the original Act the text has been italicized.

  5. Other areas have been bolded to highlight important words

  6. Blue words and numbers are links, click on them to visit the website or location they describe

_________________________________________

Wildlife Act
A full copy of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, S.O.1997, may be obtained by visiting: www.outdoors.on.ca/regulations/

For more information also visit:
Ministry of Natural resources: www.mnr.gov.on.ca
AND: www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/csb/news/jan5nr99.html

If you have any questions regarding this act or would like to report an offence under this act, please contact:
John Johnson
Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR): Fish and Wildlife Legislative Specialist
MNR Wildlife Section
Peterborough: (705) 755-1373
E-mail: john.w.johnson@mnr.gov.on.ca
Hamilton/Niagara Peninsula Area Wildlife Officer:
Nelson Denys: (905) 562-1194

The following text is excerpts which pertain to reptiles and amphibians from the:

FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ACT, S.O.1997:

Sections included in this summary:

  1. PART I: INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION

1(1) Definitions
1(2) Interpretation - animal
1(3) Interpretation -Gametes
1(4) Interpretation - species
1(5) Interpretation - hybrids
1(6) Interpretation - similar species

  1. PART II: HUNTING, TRAPPING, FISHING, AND RELATED ACTIVITIES
  1. GENERAL RESTRICTIONS

5(1) No hunting or trapping of certain species
6(1) Requirements for hunting or trapping
licence
6(2) Trapping licence validity
6(3) Farmer hunting or trapping
10 Trespassing:
(5) Land with crops
(6) Crown land used for retention or propagation
12 Possession of illegally killed wildlife

(ii) SAFETY AND METHODS
20 Night hunting
24 (1) Use Vehicle to hunt, harass
24 (2) Use boat to hunt/harass
30 Adhesives

(iii) MISCELLANEOUS
36 (1) Abandonment of meat
36(2) Allow flesh to spoil
37(1) Possession of certain nets
37(2) Sale of certain nets
39 Authorizations for education and science

(C) PART III: LIVE WILDLIFE AND FISH

40 Wildlife in captivity
41 Hunting animals in captivity
43 Wildlife in transit
44 Definition - "wildlife custodian"
45 Propagation of wildlife
46 Release of wildlife

(D) PART IV: SALE, PURCHASE AND TRANSPORT

48 Buying or selling wildlife
49 Sale of animals represented as wildlife
52 Serving wildlife or fish
55 Transport out of Ontario
57 Transport of containers

(E) PART V: LAWS OF OTHER JURISDICTIONS

58 Laws of other jurisdictions

  1. PART VIII: ENFORCEMENT

87 Conservation officers

  1. SCHEDULES

Schedule 4: Game Reptiles
Schedule 5: Game Amphibians
Schedule 9: Specially Protected Reptiles
Schedule 10: Specially Protected Amphibians

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

PART I
INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION

Definitions
1(1) In this Act,

"animal" means a member of the class … Reptilia (reptiles) or Amphibia (amphibians) …;

"body-gripping trap" means a device designed to capture or kill an animal by seizing and holding it by a part of its body, and includes a spring trap, steel trap, gin, deadfall, snare or leghold trap but does not include a device designed to capture or kill a mouse or rat {See 22(2) (c) and any references to "trap"}

"buy or sell" includes barter or trade for consideration, offer to buy, sell, barter or trade for consideration, or possess for the purpose of buying, selling, bartering, or trading for consideration, and "buying or selling" has a corresponding meaning;

"domestic animal" means an animal that belongs to a species that is not wild by nature;

"farmer" means a person whose chief occupation is farming and,

(a) who is living upon and tilling his or her own land, or land to the possession of which he or she is for the time being entitled, or
(b) who is a settler engaged in clearing land for the purpose of bringing it to a state of cultivation;
{see 6(3) and 22(2)(c)}

"game reptile" means a member of a species set out in Schedule 4 or prescribed by the regulations as a species of game reptile;

"game amphibian" means a member of a species set out in Schedule 5 or prescribed by the regulations as a game amphibian;

"game wildlife" means a … game amphibian, … or game reptile;

"hunting" includes,
(a) lying in wait or searching for, being on the trail of, pursuing, chasing or shooting at wildlife, whether or not the wildlife is killed, injured, captured, or harassed, or
(b) capturing or harassing wildlife except that hunting does not include,
(c) trapping, or
(d) lying in wait for, searching for, being on the trail of or pursuing wildlife for a purpose other than attempting to kill, injure, capture, or harass it, unless the wildlife is killed, injured, captured or harassed as a result (If the wildlife is not killed, injured or harassed then tracking, photography and observing are allowed and not considered hunting) and "hunt" and "hunter" have corresponding meanings;

"licence" means a licence or permit issued under this Act, and includes any document or thing deemed to be a license by the regulations;

"Minister" means the Minister of Natural Resources;

"Ministry" means the Ministry of Natural Resources;

"specially protected amphibian" means a member of a species set out in Schedule 10 or prescribed by the regulations as a species of specially protected amphibian;

"specially protected reptile" means a member of a species set out in Schedule 9 or prescribed by the regulations as a species of specially protected reptile;

"trap": means a body-gripping trap, box trap, cage trap or net used to capture an animal or invertebrate, and "trapping", "trapper", and the verb "trap" have corresponding meanings;

"wildlife" means an animal that belongs to a species that is wild by nature, and includes game wildlife and specially protected wildlife;

Interpretation - animal
(2) A reference in this Act to an animal, …, or to any word or expression that includes an animal, …,

(a) includes a reference to the animal, …, whether alive or dead;
(b) includes a reference to the whole or any part of the animal, …;
(c) includes a references to the animals, …, at any stage of its development unless it is inside the body
of the parent; and,
(d) includes a reference to the animal, …, whether or not it originated in Ontario.

Interpretation - gametes
(3) A reference in Part IV, V or VIII to an animal…or to any word or expression that includes an animal, … includes a reference to its gamete.

Interpretation - species
(4) A reference in this Act to a species includes a reference to any subspecies of the species and to any other lower taxonomic classification of the species .

Interpretation - hybrids
(5) For the purposes of this Act, the offspring that results from the natural or artificial breeding of an animal … including a farmed animal, shall be deemed to belong to the species or subspecies of the parent that receives the most protection under this Act.

Interpretation - similar species
(6) Subject to subsection (5), for the purposes of this Act,
(a) an animal… that is not easily distinguishes from an animal… to which this Act applies shall be deemed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to belong to the same species as the animal… to which this act applies; and
(b) a part of an animal… that is not easily distinguishable from a part of an animal… to which this Act applies shall be deemed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to be a part of the animal… to which this Act applies.

PART II
HUNTING, TRAPPING, FISHING, AND RELATED ACTIVITIES
GENERAL RESTRICTIONS

No hunting or trapping of certain species
5
(1) A person shall not hunt or trap
(b) a specially protected amphibian
(c)a specially protected reptile

Requirement for hunting or trapping license
6
(1) Except under the authority of a licence and in accordance with the regulations, a person shall not hunt or trap:
(e) a game reptile;
(f) a game amphibian
(h) wildlife that is not referred to in clauses (e) and (f) the hunting of which is not prohibited by section 5.

You are not allowed to hunt any wildlife without a small game licence. The intention of the section was to ensure that anyone using a firearm needed a licence to ensure that they had at least taken a hunter education course. It was more of a safety issue than a wildlife protection issue in this subsection..

6(2)Despite subsection (1) but subject to section 9 (A person shall not hunt, trap or possess wildlife in
Provincial parks and Crown Game Preserves)
and to any requirement for a license under section 79, the holder of a license to trap fur bearing mammals may, in accordance with the license and without any other license, in the area described in the license and to the extent that the open season falls within the period from September 1 in a year to June 30 of the following year,

(a) hunt any wildlife referred to in clause 6(1)(h). (Refers to wildlife that are not game or specially protected. Game amphibians and reptiles may be taken only under the authority of a valid Sport Fishing licence.)

Farmers
6(3) Despite subsection (1) a farmer or a member of a farmer's family who resides with the farmer may,
during the open season and without a license, on the farmers land

(d) hunt or trap game reptiles or game amphibians;
(f) hunt any wildlife referred to in clause 6(1)(h).

Trespassing
10
(6) A person shall not enter crown land used for the purpose of retaining wildlife (including any wildlife ) or fish , propagating wildlife or culturing fish without permission from the Crown.

Illegally killed wildlife
12
A person shall not possess any wildlife that has been killed, injured or captured contrary to
this act or regulations

SAFETY AND METHODS

Night hunting
20
(1) A person shall not, during the period from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise,
(a) hunt any wildlife
(c) shine a light for the purpose of hunting any wildlife

Vehicles
24
(1) A person shall not use a vehicle for the purpose of killing, injuring, capturing, harassing,
pursuing, or chasing any wildlife.
(2) A person shall not use a boat for the purpose of killing, injuring, capturing, harassing,
pursuing, or chasing any wildlife.

Adhesives
30
(1) A person shall not use adhesives to kill, injure or capture any wildlife.

Exceptions
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in the circumstances prescribed by the regulations.

MISCELLANEOUS

Abandonment of meat
36
(1) A hunter or trapper who kills a … game amphibian or game reptile shall not abandon it if its flesh may become unsuitable for human consumption

Spoiled Flesh
36
(2) A person who possesses a……game amphibian or game reptile that was hunted or trapped shall not permit it's flesh to become unsuitable for human consumption.

Possession of certain nets
37
(1) Except under the authority of a licence, a person shall not possess a gill net, hoop net, pound net, seine net, trap net, trawl net, trammel net, roll net or hook line.

Sale of certain nets
(2) A person shall not sell a gill net, hoop net, pound net, seine net, trap net, trawl net, trammel net, roll net or hook line, except to a person who is authorized to possess it.

Exception
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply in the circumstances prescribed by the regulations.

Education and science
39
The Minister may authorize a person to capture, kill, or possess wildlife (any wildlife) for educational or scientific purposes.

PART III
LIVE WILDLIFE AND FISH

Wildlife in captivity {for references to 40 see 6, 43, and 45.}
40
(1) A person shall not keep live game wildlife or live specially protected wildlife in captivity except under the authority of a license and in accordance with the regulations

Exceptions
40(2) Subsection 40(1) does not apply to,

(a) a person who keeps game amphibians or game reptiles in captivity for the purpose of personal
consumption; (Note: these animals still must be obtained legally under the authority of a valid Sport Fishing licence).

(b) a person who keeps in captivity for the purpose of personal education a single game reptile, game
amphibian, …, specially protected reptile, specially protected amphibian … (for details on release see
section 46(4)); (Note: It is illegal to keep more than one individual of any species of game or specially protected reptile or amphibian in captivity. It is also illegal to keep more than one individual under these categories in captivity (i.e. one individual each of several species). This subsection was put in place to recognize that well-meaning individuals, often children for the home or classroom, pick up an animal which they find interesting. Individuals may possess this animal indeterminately. Release is not necessarily encouraged, unless it is immediate and in the location where the animal was captured. All other sections of the Act apply and an animal kept in captivity under section 40(2)(b) may not be sold, bred, consumed, served or killed.

(c) a person who keeps game wildlife or specially protected wildlife in captivity for any educational or scientific purpose, or for any other purpose, if the person has the authorization of the Minister.

Other exceptions
40(3) Subsection 40(1) does not apply in the circumstances prescribed by the regulations.

Hunting wildlife to keep in captivity
40
(4) A person shall not hunt or trap game wildlife or specially protected wildlife for the purpose of keeping it in captivity unless the person has the authorization of the Minister. This is somewhat inconsistent with 40 (2) (b) which acknowledges the acquisition of a single specimen. However, that subsection simply acknowledges the fact that people occasionally do possess threatened wildlife, it is not encouraged.

Wildlife in transit
43
Except as prescribed by the regulations, subsection 40 (1) … does not apply to wildlife that originated outside Ontario and is in Ontario temporarily in transit or in quarantine.

Definition - "wildlife custodian"
44
(1) In this section "wildlife custodian" means a person who has an authorization under subsection 44(2);

Rehabilitation or care
(2) The Minister may authorize a person to keep injured, sick or immature game wildlife or specially protected wildlife in captivity for the purpose of rehabilitating them or caring for them.

Wildlife not capable of release
(4)The Minister may authorize a wildlife custodian to kill injured, sick or immature game wildlife or
specially protected wildlife that, in the custodian's opinion, will not be capable of being released into the
wild after appropriate care.

Propagation of wildlife
45
(1) A person shall not propagate or offer to propagate game wildlife or specially protected wildlife, or possess it for the purpose of propagation, except under the authority of a license and in accordance with the regulations

Exceptions
45 (2) subsection (1) does not apply to a person who is keeping the wildlife in captivity under
clause 40 (2)(c): if the person has the authorization of the Minister; You can change the meaning of this and lead people astray by a misplaced subsection or bracket

Release of wildlife
46
(1) Except with the authorization of the Minister, a person shall not release,

(b) game wildlife or specially protected wildlife that is kept in captivity

Escape
46 (2) A person who keeps a game or specially protected wildlife shall ensure that it does not
escape.

Obligations on escape or release
46
(3) If, despite subsection (1) or (2), a game wildlife or specially protected wildlife escapes or is released without authorization, the person who kept it in captivity,

(a) shall immediately notify the Minister; and
(b) unless otherwise directed by the Minister, shall return the farmed animal or wildlife to captivity or kill it as soon as practicable.

Exceptions
46 (4) Subsection 46(3) does not apply to game wildlife or specially protected wildlife that was kept in captivity for the purpose of rehabilitation or care under section 44 or that was kept in captivity for the purpose of personal education under the clause 40 (2) (b)

Certain provision do not apply
46
(5) Sections 5 (prohibits hunting of certain species) and 6 (prohibits hunting of certain species), Clauses 11 (1) (a) to (d) (hunting for hire, gain etc.), sections 20 (hunting at night or shining a light to hunt) and 27 (hunting with a bird of prey), such other provisions of this act and the regulations as are prescribed by the regulations do not apply to a person who captures or kills …wildlife under subsection 46(3). (Recapture of escaped wildlife) (See www.outdoors.on.ca/regulations/ for a full description of these regulations)

PART IV
SALE, PURCHASE AND TRANSPORT

Buying or selling wildlife
48
(1) A person shall not buy or sell a game wildlife or specially protected wildlife, … except under the authority of a licence and in accordance with the regulations
Note: All reptiles and amphibians which are not specially protected or game species may be bought or sold without a licence.

Sale of animals represented as wildlife
49
A person shall not sell any animal…that the person represents as a species of game wildlife or specially protected wildlife unless the person is authorized to sell that species of wildlife.

Serving wildlife or fish
52
(1) A person shall not list game or specially protected wildlife on a menu, or charge for serving it, unless the person has the authorization of the Minister

Transport of containers
57
(1) A person shall not transport a container that contains game wildlife or specially protected wildlife unless the container is plainly marked on the outside with a description of the contents, the name and address of the person who is sending the container, and the name and address of the person to whom the container is being sent. (A person legally entitled to take a game reptile, game amphibian may transport without markings as long as the person who took the wildlife is in accompaniment)

PART V
LAWS OF OTHER JURISDICTIONS

Laws of jurisdictions
58
(1) A person shall not possess wildlife that,
(a) were killed, captured, taken, possessed, transported, bought or sold contrary to the laws of another jurisdiction (i.e. province, territory, or state); or,
(b) were removed from another jurisdiction, contrary to the laws of that jurisdiction (Even if it is legal in Ontario.)

PART VIII
ENFORCEMENT

Conservation officers (Persons to contact if you know or suspect that the law is being broken.)
87
(1) The Minister may appoint a person or class of persons as conservation officers for the purposes of this
1. Act.

Same
87 (2) The following persons are conservation officers for the purposes of this Act by virtue of their
office:

2. A police officer or First Nations Constable appointed under the Police Services Act
3. A member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
4. A game officer designated under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (Canada). A park warden designated under the National Parks Act (Canada), if he or she is acting under the directions of a conservation officer appointed under subsection (1).
5. A person whose primary employment responsibility is the enforcement wildlife laws in Manitoba, Quebec, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin, if he or she is acting under the direction of a conservation officer appointed under subsection 87(1). This section is for people who are not appointed Conservation Officers)

Production of identification
87
(3) A conservation officer who is acting under this Part shall, on request, produce identification.

SCHEDULES
GAME REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
For aid in identification of these species see: (Amphibian Tour of Canada and Reptile Tour of Canada)

Schedule 4
Game Reptiles

COMMON NAME

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Turtle, Common Snapping Chelydra serpentina serpentina

Schedule 5
Game Amphibians

Bullfrog Rana catesbeiana


SPECIALLY PROTECTED REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
For aid in identification of these species see: (Amphibian Tour of Canada and Reptile Tour of Canada)

Schedule 9
SPECIALLY PROTECTED REPTILES

COMMON NAME

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Racer, Blue

Coluber constrictor foxi

Rattlesnake, Eastern Massassauga

Sistrurus catenatus catenatus

Skink, Five-lined

Eumeces fasciatus

Snake, Black Rat

Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta

Snake, Butler’s Garter

Thamnophis butleri

Snake, Eastern Fox

Elaphe vulpina gloydi

Snake, Eastern Hognose

Heterodon platyrhinos

Snake, Eastern Smooth Green

Opheodrys vernalis vernalis

Snake, Lake Erie Water

Nerodia sipedon insularum

Snake, Milk

Lampropeltis triangulum

Snake, Northern Water

Nerodia sipedon sipedon

Snake, Queen

Regina septemvittata

Softshell, Eastern Spiny

Acalone spinifera spinifera

Turtle, Blanding’s

Emydoidea blandingii

Turtle, Map

Graptemys geographica

Turtle, Midland Painted

Chrysemys picta marginata

Turtle, Musk

Sternotherus odoratus

Turtle, Spotted

Clemmys guttata

Turtle, Western Painted

Chrysemys picta bellii

Turtle, Wood

Clemmys insculpata

 

Schedule 10
SPECIALLY PROTECTED AMPHIBIANS

COMMON NAME

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Frog, Blanchard’s Cricket

Acris crepitans blanchardi

Salamander, Blue-spotted

Ambystoma laterale

Salamander, Eastern Tiger

Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum

Salamander, Four-toed

Hemidactylium scutatum

Salamander, Jefferson(s)

Ambystoma jeffersonianum

Salamander, Northern Dusky

Desmognathus fuscus fuscus

Salamander, Redback

Plethodon cinereus

Salamander, Smallmouth

Ambystoma texanum

Salamander, Spotted

Ambystoma maculatum

Salamander, Two-lined

Eurycea bislineata

Toad, Fowler’s

Bufo woodhousi fowerli

Treefrog, Gray

Hyla versicolorfs

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