Hognose snakes in illinois

Does anyone here have any experience keeping/breeding Hognose snakes in illinois? I’ve been trying to do research on the subject and most of what I find is vague or incomplete.
I see older posts online where people were submitting applications just to keep one. The way the law is written though, it only seems to pertain to keeping and breeding wild collected specimens and doesn’t single out Hognose species but covers any species that is indigenous to the state (I’ll try to add a link later when I’m able)
Any definitive information would be greatly appreciated.
I’m not expecting anyone to do my research for me but I could really use some help navigating through outdated info and narrowing my focus to species-specific relevant information.
Thanks in advance!


Hey! :wave: Glad to hear you’re doing research on your laws before jumping in on the hobby. As someone who’s been looking at Illinois as my future state of residence, I can say CBB hognoses do require a permit. I’ll offer some handy links down below for you to look into and contact people for clarification! @inspirationexotics lives in IL and Kayla can answer your questions on the process as she has hognoses! Hope this helps :slight_smile:

Wildlife Illinois Hognose Profile
(510 ILCS 68/) Herptiles-Herps Act - Article 5 and Article 50 would be of most use for you
IDNR Herptile Permits
IL Herptiles Act - USARK
Section-by-Section Breakdown of (510 ILCS 68/) Herptiles-Herps Act


Thank you so much!!!


Thanks for tagging me, James! Yes, I recently (under a year ago) moved to Illinois from Texas, and I can talk you through the process. I ended up having to email the permit person, because everything I found was vague as well. In the state of Illinois, keeping hognoses, regardless of the number, requires a permit. The permit is free! You just have to fill out the application information, and they’ll send you the permit info once they process it. It needs to be renewed every year, and also needs to be renewed if your number of animals changes.

In terms of breeding, however, it is unfortunately currently illegal for a hobby keeper to breed hognoses in the state. The only entities currently permitted to breed hogs are zoos and large educational facilities, so hobbyist keepers must keep their male and female animals separate at all times. The permit guy I spoke with said that they are trying to change that, but nothing has gone through yet.


I don’t have PLANS to breed them necessarily but we all know how just having one herp can lead to “well mayyyybe!”
I’m hoping the Lacey act amendments don’t pass with the competes act but I’m trying to plan ahead in the event I can no longer obtain an animal I want from another state that no one is allowed to breed IN my state.
You guys are all wonderful :relaxed:

Ok so the permit link gives a few options. There are fees associated with them (not a big deal) but I’m not sure which one would apply to me


This is the link that Scott Ballard sent me when I was applying (the hobbyist permit would be the one most applicable).

1 Like

Man, that’s a very awesome permit process

It was pretty simple once I figured out what permit I actually needed. But it’s really nice. No fees because the primary reason for the permit is to track captive populations rather than add a barrier to ownership, according to the guy I spoke to.


Hello I was wondering if the permit needs to be applied for before purchasing the snake or after, I was looking at the permit form and it asks who the snake was obtained from, the options are legally from an illinois vendor or legally from out-of-state vendor. I would acquire it from a reptile show and I won’t know that until I make the purchase. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you

If you need a permit to possess a snake then you have to apply for and be granted a permit before you get the snake, even though that can take a while. I might be reading it wrong but are you saying that you don’t need it immediately because you wouldn’t know that you needed it if you were to purchase one? If that’s the case then you still need it, even if you didn’t know it’s illegal to keep one without a permit it’s still illegal.


No, I am aware that it is illegal to posses one without a permit, what i don’t know is if I will be purchasing it from a licensed illinois vendor or someone out of state. Since my purchase will be at a reptile expo, it is difficult to know which vendors will be attending and which one I would be obtaining the animal from.

1 Like

You could ask them at the show something like “do you need a permit for this species?”. If they have a permit they will know what you’re talking about. If they don’t have a permit they will have no idea what you’re talking about.


You know I’ve had the same questions myself. According to the IDNR guy I spoke to the permit ON ONLY allows you to possess the animal. Absolutely no breeding or sales at this time. To me that indicates that you have to buy from a non Illinois resident or they’re violating the law right? He did say they are working on a special privilege update to those rules but it could be as long a wait as 2024 before they go into effect if everything passes. My thought, one he suggested as well was to get your female hatchlings. By the time they’re old enough to breed hopefully they’ll have updated the rules. Then you only need to buy your males which on in only need to be a year old and you’re set. We will see I guess.

1 Like

I also live in Illinois and am just starting my journey to getting a hognose here. I was able to get in touch with Scott Ballard regarding the permit and a couple questions I had and he was great! He literally replied within minutes and he was such a great source of information! Appreciate you spreading this otherwise I would’ve been totally lost. All the info available online is so unclear and vague. Thanks again! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

1 Like