Are Ball Pythons Illegal In Australia?

Australia is known for its strict regulations when it comes to exotic animals. Ball pythons, a popular pet among reptile enthusiasts, are no exception. Many people wonder if it’s legal to keep these snakes as pets in Australia.

The short answer is no, ball pythons are not legal in Australia. However, the reasons behind this ban and the impact on the reptile community are more complex than you might think. Let’s take a closer look at the regulations surrounding ball pythons in Australia.

Ball Pythons are illegal to own as pets in Australia. They are listed as a “prohibited invasive species” under the country’s Biosecurity Act of 2015. This means that it is illegal to import, keep, breed, or sell Ball Pythons in Australia. The law is in place to protect Australia’s native wildlife and ecosystems from potential harm caused by invasive species.

Are Ball Pythons Illegal in Australia?

Are Ball Pythons Illegal in Australia?

Ball pythons are a popular species of snake kept as pets. They are docile and relatively easy to care for, making them a popular choice for first-time snake owners. However, if you live in Australia, you may be wondering whether it is legal to own a ball python. This article will explore the question of whether ball pythons are illegal in Australia.

Overview of Ball Pythons

Ball pythons, also known as royal pythons, are native to Africa and are one of the smallest species of python. They are a popular pet snake due to their docile nature and relatively small size. In the wild, they live in grasslands and savannas and are known for curling up into a tight ball when frightened or threatened.


Ball pythons are typically brown or black with lighter-colored markings in a “ball” pattern. They have a short, stocky build and can grow up to 4 feet in length.

Habitat and Diet

In the wild, ball pythons live in grasslands and savannas and feed on small mammals, such as rats and mice. In captivity, they require a controlled environment with a heat source, humidity control, and a varied diet of mice, rats, and other small rodents.

Are Ball Pythons Legal in Australia?

The short answer is no, ball pythons are not legal in Australia. In fact, all species of pythons are illegal to import, export, or keep as pets in Australia. This is due to the risk of introducing exotic diseases and pests to Australia’s unique ecosystem.

Penalties for Owning a Ball Python in Australia

If you are caught owning a ball python in Australia, you could face severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. The maximum penalty for importing, exporting, or keeping a prohibited exotic animal in Australia is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $210,000.

Alternative Snake Species Legal in Australia

If you are looking for a pet snake in Australia, there are still many species that are legal to own. Some of the most popular species include the Children’s Python, Spotted Python, and Stimson’s Python. These snakes are similar in size and temperament to ball pythons and make great pets for snake enthusiasts.

Benefits of Owning a Ball Python

While it may be illegal to own a ball python in Australia, there are still many benefits to owning this popular pet snake.

Low Maintenance

Ball pythons are relatively low maintenance pets. They require a controlled environment with a heat source and humidity control, but they do not require daily feeding or exercise like dogs or cats.

Docile Nature

Ball pythons have a reputation for being docile and easy to handle. They are not generally aggressive and are unlikely to bite unless they feel threatened.


In conclusion, ball pythons are not legal to own in Australia. While this may be disappointing for snake enthusiasts, there are still many other species of snakes that are legal to own and make great pets. If you are considering owning a pet snake, be sure to research the laws in your area to ensure that you are not breaking any regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the legality of owning ball pythons in Australia:

What is the status of ball pythons in Australia?

Ball pythons are considered exotic pets in Australia, and their import and ownership is heavily regulated. In fact, they are classified as a prohibited species under the country’s biosecurity laws. This means that it is illegal to import, breed, buy, sell, or keep ball pythons in Australia without a special permit.

The reason for this is that ball pythons are not native to Australia and could potentially harm the country’s fragile ecosystem if they were introduced. In addition, ball pythons are known carriers of diseases that could pose a threat to native wildlife and livestock if they were to escape or be released into the wild.

Can I legally own a ball python in Australia?

It is possible to obtain a permit to own a ball python in Australia, but it is a lengthy and complex process. The Australian government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is responsible for issuing permits for the import and ownership of exotic animals, including ball pythons.

To be eligible for a permit, you must demonstrate that you have the knowledge and experience to care for a ball python, and that you have appropriate facilities to house and contain the snake. You must also provide detailed information about the source of the snake, including its country of origin and health status.

What are the penalties for owning a ball python illegally in Australia?

If you are caught owning a ball python without a permit in Australia, you could face serious legal consequences. The penalties for breaching Australia’s biosecurity laws can include fines of up to AUD 420,000 (USD 325,000) and/or up to 10 years in prison.

In addition to the legal consequences, owning an exotic pet illegally can also have serious ethical and practical implications. Without a permit, you may not have access to the resources and expertise needed to properly care for your snake, which could result in harm to the animal’s health and well-being.

What should I do if I find a ball python in Australia?

If you come across a ball python in Australia, it is important to report it to the relevant authorities immediately. Do not attempt to capture or handle the snake yourself, as ball pythons can be dangerous and may attack if they feel threatened.

Contact your local wildlife rescue organization, or the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s exotic plant and animal hotline (1800 084 881) for advice on how to safely and appropriately deal with the snake.

Can I keep other types of pythons or snakes as pets in Australia?

While ball pythons are prohibited in Australia, some other species of pythons and snakes are legal to keep as pets, provided you have the appropriate permits and facilities. The regulations around owning exotic animals in Australia are complex and vary depending on the species, so it is important to do your research and seek expert advice before acquiring any type of exotic pet.

Some of the species of pythons and snakes that are legal to own with a permit in Australia include carpet pythons, green tree pythons, and children’s pythons.

3 Reasons Exotic Reptiles are Illegal in Australia

In conclusion, the answer to the question “Are Ball Pythons Illegal in Australia?” is yes. As of 2021, importing, owning, and selling ball pythons in Australia is strictly prohibited. This is due to the potential impact they could have on the country’s delicate ecosystem.

However, it is important to note that there are many other fascinating and unique reptile species that can be legally owned in Australia. From bearded dragons to blue-tongued skinks, there are plenty of options for those who are interested in keeping reptiles as pets.

While it may be disappointing to learn that ball pythons are not allowed in Australia, it is crucial to respect the country’s laws and regulations. By doing so, we can help protect the environment and ensure that Australia’s biodiversity continues to thrive for generations to come.