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Class III Wildlife

What is Class III wildlife?

Any non-domesticated animal that is not classified as Class I, Class II, Conditional, or Prohibited is designated as Class III wildlife. There is no formal list of Class III species due to the large volume of species which are categorized as Class III. Class III wildlife includes both species native to Florida and species not native to Florida. Common Class III animals include exotic birds (parrots, parakeets, finches), small mammals (foxes, skunks, raccoons, lemurs), many reptile species (snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises), and all amphibian species (frogs, salamanders, etc.).

The Captive Wildlife Office regulates mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. All other classes of animals (fish, insects, arachnids, invertebrates, etc.) are not regulated by the Captive Wildlife Office and possession, sale, or exhibition of such animals is not authorized under any Captive Wildlife permit.

FWC does not regulate possession, sale, or exhibition of domestic species. The following species are considered domestic and, therefore, are not considered Class III wildlife and are not regulated by FWC: domestic cats and dogs (see FAQs for further information regarding hybrids), hamsters, guinea pigs, domestic rats and mice, cattle, horses, domestic pigs, poultry, peafowl, and llamas.

Injured, orphaned, or abandoned native animals are NEVER eligible to be kept as personal pets in Florida. Personal pet permits are only issued for animals which are obtained from a legal source. Any injured, orphaned, or abandoned native animals must be brought to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator for rehabilitation. Caring for sick, injured, or orphaned native wildlife beyond the time necessary to transport the animal to a permitted rehabilitator is against the law.

Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitators


A permit is required to possess many Class III species. Follow the links below for more information about permitting for different activities:

Additional information for Class III wildlife

  • Anyone wishing to possess capuchin, spider, or woolly monkeys must document 1000 hours of experience working with the species they would like to possess or other species in same biological family and the same or higher Class of wildlife. The experience must span at least one calendar year. The experience documentation must show 1000 hours of practical experience in feeding, handling, care, and husbandry of animals in the same biological family and Class of the animal(s) being requested. Anyone wishing to document their experience hours may use this sample log or any other format (excel sheet, word document, etc.) as long as the description of experience is detailed and the hours are countable, totaling at least 1000 hours.
    • Experience documentation must be submitted per biological family of wildlife requested, except cougars and cheetahs (which are regulated separately on the genus level), crocodilians (which are regulated on the biological order level) and ratites (which are regulated on the biological sub-order level).
  • Anyone wishing to possess capuchin, spider, or woolly monkeys must obtain two letters of reference regarding their experience as described above. One letter must be from a Florida permit holder for the wildlife being applied for (preferably the permit holder overseeing the experience) or a representative of a professional organization or governmental institution, including veterinarians. Both letters must be from individuals with firsthand knowledge of the documented experience and must reference such experience in their letter.

Anyone wishing to possess capuchin, spider, or woolly monkeys must pass a caging inspection before a permit will be issued. More information regarding specific caging requirements is on our Rules and Regulations page.

Many Class III bird species are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and require a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to possess. Anyone with migratory birds in their Class III inventory should provide a copy of their USFWS migratory bird permit or official exemption letter with their Class III permit application.

Some turtle species have possession limits. No person shall possess more than two individual turtles of the following species: Escambia map turtles (Graptemys ernsti), box turtles (Terrapene carolina), or loggerhead musk turtles (Sternotherus minor).

Contact Information

If you have any questions, please contact the Captive Wildlife Office.

Phone: (850) 488-6253
Mail: Captive Wildlife Office, 620 S Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399