View Full Version : Need Help on legality of axolotls in Canada

27th July 2013, 22:42
Hello everyone,

So there has been allot of rumors and misunderstanding about Axolotls here in Canada !
I keep hearing things like "EEHH you better get ride of it they are illegal" and others saying " nope i have seen them for years totally legal" for a while and almost everyday (i am talking about both GFP and non-GFP morphs). i have gone as far as emailing Wild Life Canada and Ministry of Natural Resources a number of times about this for a answer and i have never got a reply back even when i check off "please contact me with this email".

So basically if anyone can help me and future people i need a list or something of all the places that Non-GFP and GFP axolotls are and are not allowed in Canada including places like Kingston which i heard no one is allowed to have amphibians.

Thanks allot :proud::proud::proud:

28th July 2013, 16:12
I moved this thread to the Laws/Legality section. I would also suggest doing an Advanced Seach of just this section of the forum with the keyword "canada".

28th July 2013, 17:20
Axolotls are perfectly legal in Canada, but provinces actually have jurisdiction over animal possession, which makes such legality a provincial issue. The main issue isn't possession, but importation. As CITES animals, they require CITES export permits, which can be hard to get, making the large number of US animals hard to obtain in Canada.

Genetically modified organisms are another matter, and require additional permits for importation. I'm not sure how or IF these salamanders got permits in the first place, but my impression is that now that they are present, it's no longer a CFIA concern. Regardless, CWS and CFIA were no help at all in answering my questions. One department forwarded my questions to another, which indirectly responded with a simple policy quote which did not actually address my question of whether the animals were ever legally imported in the first place.

28th July 2013, 23:28
I am planning on just shipping within Canada which i looked into regarding if i needed any permits and as far as i found no i don't need a export permit unless it is leaving Canadian soil, but i could be sadly wrong.

If someone asks to purchase a Axolotl where they are not allowed to own amphibians of any type and i am not aware and ship then i am responsible not the costumer right?

I am going to try to call them but i haven't had the time il see if they can send me a list and if so i will attach them here for everyone to view, but in the mean time if anyone can provide us with a list please do so.

29th July 2013, 12:44
From my understanding as long as it from Canada to within Canada, it shouldn't be a problem. As mentioned before though, if you are trying to bring in from US then you'll be paying for a hefty CITES license. I know they're legal in Winnipeg (for now... they have a lot of aquatic laws changing to better protect native animals and environments however it really damages aquarists). The fact that the zoo will be taking some of mine would, I think, help prove it. It would make them look bad if they were taking in animals that are illegal as pets - unless it was due to a seizure warrant, and it most definitely is not! ;)

29th July 2013, 18:45
CITES permits are not required between provinces, as the "I" in CITES stands for "International". Differing legalities are hypothetically the purchaser's problems. However, shipping animals from a location where they are legal to a location where they are ILlegal is a violation of WAPPRIITA, and so potentially puts the shipper and receiver both in violation of federal law. I suspect there are a great many such violations, but few if any court cases yet to test how it would be treated, mainly because there are virtually no interprovincial screening points.

29th July 2013, 21:07
Really in all honestly though unless your pet is a danger and somebody complains and the authorities come to your door, or you get caught with shipping. They really have more important things to do.

I understand why axolotls potentially are illegal in certain places but come on, how likely is it if i released an axolotl would they live through one canadian winter. I know they like cold water buttt.. Lol

I know as of july 16th 2013 the law of new brunswick states that axolotls are illegal. But the law is broken.. It doesnt state that they are illegal, more as they give you a list of all the pets you are allowed to have(which is very short) to me it looks like it was written by hobbyists and just jotted down more common pets.. New brunswick is the only province in canada that has yet to change their species law.. Its funny because tiger salamanders are in the list but if you read the law on native species it says it is illegal to posess a tiger salamander.

Other then nb though i think the laws are pretty straightforward. I think nb is re-writing their law(finally!) i hear some runours earlier this year and the last time i checked the law was only active till july 16th 2013 and this was two days ago. So my guess is they are in the middle of implementing the new system.. Hopefully an easier list like "these are all the illegal species and everything else is fair game"

What are the changes of an axolotl escaping and reaking havoc?
Unless you set it out in the wild

30th July 2013, 01:39
Chances are that NB law IS clear, and states elsewhere that all wildlife, or all exotic wildlife, are illegal top possess unless otherwise stated. In BC, axolotls are nominately illegal, as their entire genus is protected as "native".

The hazards associated with axolotls are multiple - they are tiger salamanders and can potentially interbreed with any number of other tiger salamander species, thus affecting the survival of the local native forms. They are also more likely to transmit diseases to the local species, although given their long absence of wild collection, that risk is possibly trivial. In addition, highly aquatic species probably have much better chances of survival outside of the tropics because they are not actually exposed to freezing temperatures. That's why clawed frogs exist in England, although southern England is warmed by the Gulf Stream, allowing tropical vegetation to live in some places as well.

30th July 2013, 01:43
Hopefully an easier list like "these are all the illegal species and everything else is fair game"

I totally agree. 90% of the people i meet other than on caudata have never heard of axolotls so a list of "these are the illegal species" would be way more beneficial and easier to understand. Also why is it that in the same country some provinces/states allow you to have a animal but others are not?? i never understood that.

30th July 2013, 03:46
I really dont understand the laws on specie legality but i read a post a while back in another forum and like stated about they make species illegal because of potential cross breeding/diseases etc.. And also sometimes all poisonous or very aggressive species are illegal. This guy made a point that there is only a problem once you start selling/importing/exporting, breeding your pet. Or if its like a snake who can escape, and get outside, and if its a huge vicious snake that bites somebody, then we have a problem.

As far as axolotls go i normally see tiger salamanders and axolotls both illegal or both legal.
I also think since they are fully aquatic, unless somebody was stupid enough to let it free in the wild(im sure there are people out there)i dont see any harm in keeping them as a personal pet.

Laws dont make much sense and everybody will interpret a law differently. As far as new brunswick laws goes, you are only allowed common pets that everybody has heard of.. Im pretty sure at the pet store halftheir species are illegal anyways. Its funny because as soon as you leave the store with the animal all of a sudden you could get fined for having it, though the pet store sold it to you.

I think the legality of species is a great reference point, however if you take care of them right and dont exploit them and you dont do anything stupid like "lets see if this axolotl can live in this pond" type deal, and as long as it is not a danger to society you owning it, i really dont see the problem.

30th July 2013, 21:16
Okay so i just got off the phone with Wild Life Canada who was just absolutely no help at all because even after transferring me 5 times no one had a clue of what animal i was talking about or if they were legal or illegal, Shout out to them for knowing there stuff lol, and Ministry Of Natural Resources which gave me my answer immediately for the first two people i spoke two know exactly what they were. first person told me as far as the last time she check axolotl GFP and Non-GFP are allowed all over Canada unless there is a city law which bans amphibians but she will look into those cities for me and email me a list of where i can not send them, then i asked about permits and she transferred me and the next person knew exactly what they were so i am very impressed with them :happy::happy:

Either tomorrow or Thursday i will be emailed a list of what cites have such laws about amphibians being banned and any permits i need if any to breed and ship across Canada and as soon as i am done i will post the information here :happy:

1st August 2013, 21:13
Okay so this is the best the MNR can provide me at the moment regarding the legality of Axolotls and i will be getting a more detailed email later on.

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________

From: NRIC-fishing.mnr@ontario.ca
To: mike_4_23@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: Axolotls
Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2013 20:51:01 +0000


Thank you of your inquiry.

Provided your axolotls were legally brought into Canada under the proper CITIES permits, or they were breed in captivity in Canada, you may legally possess them at a federal level. Please contact your local city, township or municipal office regarding local by-laws concerning the ownership of exotic animals. If a by-law exists concerning the ownership of this genus or species you would not be able to possess them in that jurisdiction. The Ministry of Natural Resourcesí mandate does not cover the ownership of exotic animals and the Ministry would only get involved if there was an escape of the exotic pet.

We hope you have found this information helpful. If you require further assistance please contact the Natural Resources Information Centre at 1-800-667-1940.


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Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Natural Resources Information Centre
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Peterborough, ON K9J 8M5
TTY: 1-866-686-6072
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Messages sent by email are not secure. If you choose to provide your personal information, it will not be encrypted, nor will our response be encrypted. Alternatively you can phone 1-800-667-1940 between 8:30AM and 5:00PM, Monday through Friday.

20th December 2013, 01:40
did you ever get more back on this?

11th September 2018, 04:26
It will be provincial law that you need to be concerned about. I know they are not legal in B.C as all ambystomid salamanders are classed as wildlife under the BC Wildlife Act and thus not legal to possess.