Risk assessment model for the import and keeping of exotic reptiles and amphibians

Exotic reptiles and amphibians can establish wild pest populations that cause environmental and economic harm. These introduced species have the potential to cause extinctions of native species or reduce their range and abundance. Their negative impacts on native species can include predation, competition for food, basking sites and other resources, hybridisation and other genetic effects, spread of diseases and parasites, and poisoning through toxic skin glands or venomous bites. Exotic reptiles and amphibians may also alter the habitat of native species and disrupt ecosystem dynamics.

There is a risk that new exotic reptile and amphibian species could establish as wild pests in Australia. If such species escaped or were illegally released into a favourable environment, they could start to breed in the wild and spread to new locations. Once they are widespread, eradication becomes virtually impossible.

Not all exotic reptiles and amphibians pose the same level of threat for establishing a wild pest population. This report addresses the question of whether it is possible to distinguish between species that pose a high risk and those that pose a lower risk. Based on a review of world scientific literature and an analysis of past introductions of exotic reptiles and amphibians to the United States and Britain, it concludes that there is a suite of factors that separates high and low-risk species. This information is used to construct a scientifically based risk assessment model to evaluate the risk that an exotic reptile or amphibian species released into the wild could establish a wild population.

The Bureau of Rural Sciences produced this report for The Department of Environment and Heritage with funding from the Natural Heritage Trust. The report provides information to assist the Australian and State and Territory Governments assess the risks posed by the import and keeping of exotic reptiles and amphibians.

Author Mary Bomford, Fred Kraus, Mike Braysher, Liz Walter and Leanne Brown
Date null
Year 2005
Secondary title A report produced by the Bureau of Rural Sciences for the Department of Environment and Heritage
Place published City
Institution Bureau of Rural Sciences
Pages 110
Notes Notes
Region Australia - national
Documents Risk assessment model for the import and keeping of exotic reptiles and amphibians