Texas "White list" for herps


Old Timer
Nov 15, 2004
Thought I'd pass this on if it has not been noted before:

New ‘White List’ Proposed To Regulate Nongame Wildlife
General Media Contact: Business Hours, (512) 389-4406
April 9, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on March 28
authorized seeking public comment on a proposal to change the way
nongame wildlife species are regulated. The proposal would create a “white
list” of species that could be collected and sold, with all other
nongame animals not on the list to be protected from commercial collection
and sale.

The proposal is designed to help monitor and regulate the escalating
collection and sale of wild turtles, snakes, and other nongame animals
(species not covered under hunting and fishing regulations) in Texas. The
change would prohibit commercial use of all Texas turtle species,
protecting at least 20 types of turtles currently subject to collection and

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff had recommended keeping
the red-eared slider on the proposed white list, which would have made
it the only Texas wild turtle subject to continued commercial collection
and sale. (The species is generally common and abundant in Texas.)
However, commissioners instructed the staff to remove the red-eared slider
from the list, effectively protecting it as well. The intent was to
publish a more restrictive proposed regulation for public comment, with
the understanding that it could be made less restrictive when finally

The proposed new regulations will be published this month in the Texas
Register for public comment. The proposed regulations will be available
on the TPWD website Public Comment page the week of April 9. The TPW
Commission will consider final adoption of the new rules at its May 24
meeting. If adopted May 24, the new rules would take effect in early
summer, 20 days after they are published in the Texas Register.

Wildlife biologists cite increased pressure from out-of-state
collectors and dealers, fueled in part by a growing demand for turtle meat sold
to China and other Asian markets. In recent years, an average of 94,442
turtles per year were collected or purchased by at least 50 Texas
dealers, mostly for export from the state.

Wildlife experts are expressing particular concern about the turtle
trade. Affected species include box turtles, diamondback terrapins and
freshwater turtles such as map turtles, softshells, common snapping
turtles and others. At least 12 recent scientific research reports indicate
that commercial turtle harvest from the wild is not sustainable. At
least four southeastern states in the U.S. have prohibited commercial
collection of turtles from the wild, and most others are more restrictive
than Texas.

Since 1999, the department has published a list of 42 wildlife species
or subspecies covered under nongame permit regulations. The list
includes mostly turtles (20 species), but also includes 10 species of snakes,
five frogs and toads, four lizards, two mammals and one salamander. A
number of other nongame species not on the list are currently collected
and sold in Texas, with no permitting or reporting requirements.

Currently, anyone who possesses more than 25 specimens in the aggregate
of any animal on the list must have a nongame (collector’s) permit,
which costs $18 for Texas residents and $60 for non-residents.
Commercial operators who buy and resell listed animals must have a nongame
dealer’s permit, which costs $60 for residents and $240 for non-residents.

Nongame permit holders must maintain a daily log showing the date,
location, and number of specimens collected or sold. Nongame dealer's
permit holders must maintain a current daily record of all purchases and
sales, and they are required to submit an annual report summarizing their
activities to TPWD.

To develop the new white list proposal, department biologists met with
a variety of user groups, including seven herpetological societies and
various nongame dealers, involving approximately 300 participants total
representing a wide range of interests. All parties agreed that
sustainability of wildlife populations is the goal, and that there is
currently a lack of population data.

Under the proposal, 84 species would be on the new white list, with
annual permitting and reporting required for anyone possessing more than
25 specimens in the aggregate of listed animals. Instead of the current
list regulating collection of 20 types of turtles, the new list would
not allow commercial collection and sale of any native turtle species.
Commercial collection and sale would also be prohibited for all other
nongame species not on the white list. (See the proposed white list

“For any nongame species not on the proposed white list, we’re
still proposing to allow people to keep a limited number of nongame animals
for personal use—the current proposal is six,” said Matt Wagner,
TPWD wildlife diversity program director. “We want kids, for example,
to be able to keep a pet turtle or two; we think that sort of thing is

Wagner said a number of species currently being collected and sold,
including several turtles, are identified as priority species of concern
in the recently completed Texas Wildlife Action Plan. He believes
prohibiting collection of these species will help their populations rebound.

“There are lots of other threats out there to these reptiles and
amphibians, including habitat loss and fragmentation,” Wagner said.
“When you have these types of species with slow reproductive rates, it’s
not sustainable to have commercial collection in the wild.”

Wagner said prohibitions on commercial collection will give TPWD an
opportunity to survey local populations of priority aquatic species,
including turtles, to assess their status in Texas. Many of these species
are tied to specific watersheds and river systems.

“We’re never going to have enough resources to do all the surveys
we’d like to do,” Wagner said, “but we can focus on priority areas
identified in our Wildlife Action Plan. Reporting data from dealers
shows us which counties these animals are coming from, which provides
another means of targeting monitoring within ecoregions already identified
as priorities.”

Comments on the proposed rules may be made via the TPWD website or to
Robert Macdonald by email at robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us or by
regular mail to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School
Road, Austin, TX 78744. For specific questions concerning the proposed
regulations, anyone may contact Matt Wagner by email at
matt.wagner@tpwd.state.tx.us or by regular mail at the address above.


Frogs and Toads

1) Great Plains toad (Bufo cognatus)
2) Green toad (Bufo debilis)
3) Red-spotted toad (Bufo punctatus)
4) Texas toad (Bufo speciosus)
5) Gulf Coast toad (Bufo valliceps)
6) Woodhouse’s toad (Bufo woodhousei)
7) Green treefrog (Hyla cinerea)
8) Bull frog (Rana catesbeiana)
9) Couch’s spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii)
10) Plains spadefoot (Spea bombifrons)
11) New Mexico spadefoot (Spea multiplicata)

1) Tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

1) Green anole (Anolis carolinensis)
2) Chihuahuan spotted whiptail (Aspidoscelis exsanguis)
3) Texas spotted whiptail (Aspidoscelis gularis)
4) Marbled whiptail (Aspidoscelis marmoratus)
5) Six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus)
6) Checkered whiptail (Aspidoscelis tesselatus)
7) Texas banded gecko (Coleonyx brevis)
8) Greater earless lizard (Cophosaurus texanus)
9) Collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)
10) Five-lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus)
11) Great plains skink (Eumeces obsoletus)
12) Texas alligator lizard (Gerrhonotus infernalis)
13) Lesser earless lizard (Holbrookia maculata)
14) Crevice spiny lizard (Sceloporus poinsettii)
15) Prairie lizard (Sceloporus undulatus)
16) Ground skink (Scincella lateralis)
17) Tree lizard (Urosaurus ornatus)
18) Side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana)

1) Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)
2) Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)
3) Glossy snake (Arizona elegans)
4) Trans-Pecos rat snake (Bogertophis subocularis)
5) Racer (Coluber constrictor)
6) Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)
7) Rock rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus)
8) Blacktail rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)
9) Mojave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)
10) Prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
11) Baird’s rat snake (Elaphe bairdi)
12) Great Plains rat snake (Elaphe emoryi)
13) Texas rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta)
14) Slowinski’s cornsnake (Elaphe slowinskii)
15) Western hognose snake (Heterodon nasicus)
16) Eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
17) Texas night snake (Hypsiglena torquata)
18) Gray-banded kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna)
19) Prairie kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster)
20) Speckled or desert kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)
21) Milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
22) Texas blind snake (Leptotyphlops dulcis)
23) Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum)
24) Schott’s whipsnake (Masticophis schotti)
25) Striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus)
26) Texas coral snake (Micrurus tener)
27) Blotched or yellowbelly water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster)
28) Broad-banded water snake (Nerodia fasciata)
29) Diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer)
30) Rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus)
31) Bullsnake or gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer)
32) Texas longnose snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei)
33) Western blackneck garter snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis)
34) Checkered garter snake (Thamnophis marcianus)
35) Western ribbon snake (Thamnophis proximus)
36) Big Bend patchnose snake (Salvadora deserticola)
37) Texas or mountain patchnose snake (Salvadora grahamiae)
38) Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)
39) Pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius)
40) Ground snake (Sonora semiannulata)
41) Brown snake (Storeria dekayi)
42) Flathead snake (Tantilla gracilis)
43) Southwestern blackhead snake (Tantilla hobartsmithi)
44) Plains blackhead snake (Tantilla nigriceps)
45) Lined snake (Tropidoclonion lineatum)
46) Rough earth snake (Virginia striatula)


Old Timer
Oct 20, 2006
This sounds like a well thought out good idea - they will allow people to have a few as pets but will be cutting down on mass exportation for the pet/meat trade. Hope it goes through and is able to be regulated.


Old Timer
Nov 18, 2004
Its a damn fine step in the right direction. All native fauna should have federal protection.


Old Timer
Jun 8, 2006
I really like this idea. So many species are being overharvested (like the red eared slider turtles) and I'm worried that in less than a decade, they'll be endangered.


Old Timer
Jan 23, 2006
Its a damn fine step in the right direction. All native fauna should have federal protection.
no way !!!!!!!!!i oppose federal protection for all native fauna. The federal government messes up EVERYTHIGN it does ... and it matters not what party is in charge they are ll the same old beaurocratic hypocrits no matter the party affiliation.
BUT i do believe the state can do a far superior job and they can actually have some idea of what species need to be protected or thinned out.
of course what that didnt mention is that in Texas you have to have a hunting license to take frogs or turtles anyway lol so that kid that takes a turtle home best be under 17 lol