Amphibians and Reptiles of Long Island,
Staten Island and Manhattan

Cautions: legal, moral, and otherwise

Notes about removing animals from or adding animals to the wild: New York, like most states, limits the circumstances under which species may be legally collected. Usually you need a permit from the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as local permission for land access, before collecting. This key includes Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern Species that SHOULD NOT be collected or held captive. Collecting protected species is illegal and can severely harm wild populations. UPDATE WITH NEW PROPOSALS FOR LISTINGS PENDING

As a result of releasing pets and laboratory animals, our region now has many introduced species. However, releasing animals into the wild is also illegal and usually a bad idea. Captive animals may carry diseases that can infect native species and even jump species boundaries. We are just beginning to understand how important diseases are to wildlife populations, and we know about more than one disease that wild species can get from captive-held individuals. Released animals may compete with native species, resulting in reduced native populations. Reintroduction of native species into habitats from which they have been wiped out should only be done with authorization from the NY Department of Environmental Conservation and after careful consideration of the potential consequences.