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Wildlife as a Personal Pet

Possession of many wildlife species as a personal pet in Florida requires a permit or license. A permit/license is required to keep wildlife as a personal pet at a permanent residence in Florida and a permit/license is also required for temporary possession of a pet while visiting Florida. A personal pet permit/license authorizes keeping a pet at a specified address, traveling with a pet, and taking a pet to the vet. The personal pet permit/license does not cover taking a pet in public. Anyone who wishes to possess wildlife as a pet and would like to take their pet in public (any place outside of the home or vet’s office where members of the public could approach the animal) should apply for a license for exhibition in lieu of a personal pet permit/license.

Some wildlife does not require a permit to possess as a personal pet in Florida. No permit is needed to possess the following species as a personal pet: nonvenomous and unprotected reptiles or amphibians, gerbils, hedgehogs, honey possums, sugar gliders, rats, mice, moles, shrews, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, domestic ferrets, European ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, prairie dogs, chinchillas, shell parakeets, canaries, lovebirds, cockatiels, parrots, finches, myna birds, toucans, ringed doves, ruddy doves, diamond doves, and button quail.

Anyone wishing to keep wildlife as a pet must obtain a permit/license before possessing the animal.

Animals from the wild (including 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 captive bred and are obtained from a legal licensed source. Any injured, orphaned, or abandoned animals must be brought to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator for rehabilitation. Caring for sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife beyond the time necessary to transport the animal to a permitted rehabilitator is against the law.

Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitators

The type of permit or license required for personal possession depends on the type of wildlife that is owned. To determine which permit/license type is appropriate for your situation, please return to the main Captive Wildlife webpage and read about the different types of wildlife under the Categories of Wildlife section (or use the links under each permit/license type below). Once you have determined the type of wildlife you plan to own, you can download the appropriate application below for possession of that type of wildlife.

Permit/License Options

Due to their nature, habits, and status, Class I wildlife may not be possessed as a personal pet.

Class II Personal Pet License (PPL)

License Information

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Cost: $140 per year
  • Activities covered: possession of Class II wildlife as a personal pet
  • Private or Commercial: Private
  • Age requirement: 18

PPL Application Materials

Submit application with payment by mail to P.O. Box 6150, Tallahassee, FL 32314-6150.

Additional Information

  • To possess Class II wildlife, requirements related to experience documentation, facility, and caging must be met (see bottom of page).
  • Anyone wishing to bring their Class II pet out in public should obtain a license for exhibition (ESA or ESB) and does not need to obtain a Class II Personal Pet License (PPL).

Class III Personal Pet No-Cost Permit (PPNC)

Some common Class III species requiring a permit: raccoon, skunk, kinkajou, marmoset, tamarin, lemur, opossum, capuchin monkey, spider monkey, fox, coatimundi, wallaby, zebra (not an extensive list)

Permit Information

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Cost: Free
  • Activities covered: possession of Class III wildlife as a personal pet
  • Private or Commercial: Private
  • Age requirement: 16

PPNC Application Materials

Submit application by mail to 620 South Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399 or by email to CWApps@myFWC.com.

Additional Information

  • Anyone wishing to bring their Class III pet out in public should obtain a license for exhibition (ESC) and does not need to obtain a Class III Personal Pet No-Cost Permit (PPNC).
  • To possess capuchin, spider, or woolly monkeys, requirements related to experience documentation and caging must be met (see bottom of page).
  • Some Class III species also fall into the game animal category (ducks, deer, etc.). Anyone wishing to possess a Class III game animal as a personal pet (no breeding) should obtain a PPNC in lieu of a Game Farm License.

License to Possess or Exhibit Venomous Reptiles and/or Reptiles of Concern (VRC)

License Information

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Cost: $100 per year
  • Activities covered: possession and exhibition of venomous reptiles
  • Private or Commercial: Both
  • Age requirement: 18

VRC Application Materials

Submit application with payment by mail to P.O. Box 6150, Tallahassee, FL 32314-6150.

Additional Information

  • To possess venomous reptiles, requirements related to experience documentation, facility, and caging must be met (see bottom of page).

Additional Requirements for Class II, venomous reptiles, and capuchin, spider, and woolly monkeys

  • Anyone wishing to possess the above species must document 1000 hours of experience working with the species they would like to possess or other species in same biological family and 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 the above species must obtain two letters of reference regarding their experience as described above. One letter must be from a Florida license holder for the wildlife being applied for (preferably the license 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 the above wildlife must pass a caging inspection before a license will be issued. More information regarding specific caging requirements is on our Rules and Regulations page.

  • Class II species must be housed on properties which are at least 2.5 acres (see next tab for exceptions).
  • Class II species must be housed on properties which are either owned or leased by the applicant (see next tab for exceptions).
  • Facilities housing Class II species must contain a “buffer zone” of at least 35 feet between caged wildlife and the facility property line (see next tab for exceptions).
  • Facilities housing Class II wildlife must be bound by a fence which is at least 8 feet high, or 6 feet high with a 2-foot, 45 degree, inward angle overhang (see next tab for exceptions).

The following Class II wildlife is exempt from the facility requirements related to acreage, ownership/lease of the property, buffer zones, and perimeter fencing:

  • Class II carnivores until they reach 25 pounds or 6 months of age, whichever comes first
  • Class II primates until they reach 12 months of age
  • Crocodilians 4 feet in length or less
  • Cats: ocelots, servals, caracals, bobcats, African golden cats, Temminck’s golden cats, and fishing cats
  • Non-human primates: uakaris, sakis, and guenons (except patas monkeys, De Brazza’s monkeys, blue monkeys, Preuss’s monkeys, or any other member of Cercopithecus which exceeds the normal adult weight of 14 pounds on average for the species)

Any Class II wildlife exempt from meeting the facility requirements still must meet the following:

  • Class II wildlife shall not be possessed in multi-unit dwellings unless the dwelling in which they are housed is equipped with private entrance, exit and yard area.
  • A fence sufficient to deter entry by the public, which shall be a minimum of five (5) feet in height, shall be present around the premises wherein Class II animals are housed or exercised outdoors.

Contact Information

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

Phone: (850) 488-6253
Email: CWApps@myFWC.com
Mail: Captive Wildlife Office, 620 S Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399