Arizona State and Federally Protected Species
Arizona does not classify protected species as being either threatened or endangered. Instead, those species that are afforded protection are simply classified as having No Open Season by Arizona Game and Fish Commission orders 41 & 43. In this section, the term “take” or “taken” means harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect.
The take or handling of Species classified as having No Open Season, with the exception of those species that are provided protection under the U. S. Endangered Species Act, require the issuance of a Scientific Collecting License (SCL) issued by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Species classified as having No Open Season, and are also provided protection under the U. S. Endangered Species Act, require the issuance of a Federal permit to be taken or handled.
The take or handling of species classified as “Legal Reptiles”, with the exception of soft-shelled turtles, require the possession of a valid Arizona State Hunting License or combination Hunting/Fishing License.
The take or handling of species classified as “Legal Amphibians”, including soft-shelled turtles, require the possession of a valid Arizona State Fishing License or combination Hunting/Fishing License. Note: Soft-shelled turtles are considered aquatic wildlife.
Many Species of Arizona reptiles and amphibians have bag and/or possession limits, and certain areas of the state may be closed to the taking of some species. You must have in your personal possession a valid Arizona license to take or handle any reptiles or amphibians. This applies even if your intent is only to handle and photograph specimens and not take them.
It is important to note that Arizona does not list sub-species and that their listing may not reflect current taxonomic standings. For a more comprehensive explanation of Arizona laws, rules and commission orders, please visit Arizona Reptile and Amphibian Regulations 2021-2025.
This information is not legal advice and may not be currently accurate as state fish and game laws can change at any time. It is the responsibility of the individual to understand and follow the laws of each state, which includes the procurement of the proper permits required in each state to conduct any and all field herping activities.
The following is a list of Arizona No Open Season reptile and amphibian species.
- Ambystoma tigrinum stebbinsi (Sonoran Tiger Salamander)
- Rana blairi (Plains Leopard Frog)
- Rana chiricahuensis (Chiricahua Leopard Frog)
- Rana onca (Relict Leopard Frog)
- Rana pipiens (Northern leopard frog)
- Rana tarahumarae (Tarahumara Leopard Frog)
- Rana yavapaiensis (Lowland Leopard Frog)
- Heloderma suspectum (Gila Monster)
- Phrynosoma mcallii (Flat-tailed Horned Lizard)
- Crotalus lepidus (Rock Rattlesnake)
- Crotalus pricei (Twin-spotted Rattlesnake)
- Crotalus willardi (Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake; includes C. w. obscurus and C. w. willardi)
- Lampropeltis triangulum (Milksnake; Cochise County only)
- Sistrurus catenatus (Massasauga)
- Thamnophis eques (Mexican Gartersnake)
- Thamnophis rufipunctatus (Narrow-headed Gartersnake)
- Gopherus agassizii (Mojave Desert Tortoise)
- Gopherus morafki (Sonoran Desert Tortoise)
- Terrapene ornata (Ornate Box Turtle)