Exotic, dangerous and wild animal licence

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 aims to ensure that where private individuals keep dangerous wild animals, they do so in circumstances which create no risk to the public and which safeguard the welfare of the animals. The Council has statutory duties to licence certain activities and services that involve the keeping, selling, boarding, displaying or hiring out of animals. These are:

  • The keeping of any animal controlled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.
  • Exhibiting to the public wild animals for more than seven consecutive days in any twelve-month period.

This ensures that legal standards are met for animal safety and welfare and, in some cases, for the safety of the public. 

What are Dangerous Wild Animals?

The keeping of certain species of wild animals is controlled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.  No person may keep any dangerous wild animal without first obtaining a licence.  However, this does not apply to any dangerous wild animal kept in a zoo; a circus; premises licensed as a pet shop; or a place which is a designated establishment within the meaning of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

A person is held to be the keeper of the animal if they have it in their possession. They remain the 'keeper' and therefore are responsible for the animal, even if it escapes or it is being transported etc.

Further information on the keeping of dangerous wild animals can be found on the gov.uk website. Here is a list of animals you need a licence for.


To be able to apply for a licence you must:

  • be at least 18 years old;
  • own and process, or propose to own and possess, all of the animals that are to be included on the licence, unless there are circumstances which the Council consider exceptional;
  • not have been disqualified under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 from keeping any dangerous wild animal.

Apply to keep dangerous wild animals form

The Council will arrange for an authorised Veterinary Surgeon/practitioner to undertake an inspection of the premises and produce a report, which the Council is legally obliged to consider when determining the application. The fee for this service is additional to the standard Licence fee and needs to be paid by the applicant. 

The Council will not grant a Licence unless satisfied that:

  • it would not be contrary to the public interest on the grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise;
  • the applicant is a suitable person to hold a Licence and is adequately insured;
  • animals will be held in secure accommodation to prevent them from escaping;
  • accommodation for animals is suitable with regards to the construction, size, temperature, lighting, ventilation, drainage and cleanliness; and which is suitable for the number of animals proposed to be held in the accommodation;
  • animals are provided with adequate food, drink and bedding materials and will be visited at suitable intervals;
  • appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of any animal concerned in case of fire or other emergency;
  • appropriate steps will be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases;
  • while any animal concerned is at the premises where it will normally be held, its accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise.

Please email your application to licensing@reigate-banstead.gov.uk and state 'Exotic, dangerous and wild animal licence' in the email subject line please. Alternatively if you prefer to post your application please do so addressed to: Licensing Officer, Licensing Department, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, Town Hall, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 0SH. 

When making your application you will need to pay the relevant fee(s). We are unable to process applications without payment having been made.

Fees and Charges

For information on fees and charges please consult our licences and permit fees page. Currently we can only accept payment via cheque or postal order. We are in the process of working towards payment over the phone and online payment. Please make cheques payable to 'Reigate & Banstead Borough Council'. These can either be dropped into reception or posted in. Please ensure you write on the back of the cheque what the payment is for so we can cross reference this to your application. 

Will Tacit Consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact us to discuss your application. 

Pre-application advice service

We offer a pre-application and application advice service to support your licensing application. The aim is to help you to mitigate any problems which may arise during the application process. For further details please consult our licensing contact us and application advice service page

Further Information