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Rules and Regulations

Standard Caging Requirements

The links below will redirect you to the Florida Administrative Register page, on which you can view the current rules outlining minimum caging requirements for housing captive wildlife. After clicking a link, on the page that opens for each rule, click View Rule under the Word Document icon to view the entire rule.

Captive Wildlife Regulations

  • 68-1.010, F.A.C. (General Regulations Relating to Licenses, Permits and Other Authorizations)
  • 68A-6.001, F.A.C. (Captive Wildlife Definitions)
  • 379.304, F.S. (Exhibition or sale of wildlife)
  • 379.372, F.S. (Capturing, keeping, possessing, transporting, or exhibiting venomous reptiles, reptiles of concern, conditional reptiles, or prohibited reptiles; license required)
  • 379.3711, F.S. (License fee for private game preserves and farms)
  • 379.3712, F.S. (Private hunting preserve license fees; exception)
  • 379.3761, F.S. (Exhibition or sale of wildlife; fees; classifications)
  • 379.3762, F.S. (Personal possession of wildlife)
  • 68A-6.017, F.A.C. (Possession and Exhibition of Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern)
  • 68A-6.0171, F.A.C. (Caging, Facility, and Transportation Requirements for Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern)
  • 68A-6.0172, F.A.C. (Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements for Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern)
  • 68A-6.0173, F.A.C. (Identification of Non-Native Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern)
  • 68A-6.018, F.A.C. (Injuries, Bites, and Escapes)
  • 68A-12.011, F.A.C. (Regulations Governing the Establishment and Operation of Game Farms)

Rule Development

The FWC abides by Ch. 120, Florida Statutes, when making rules. In doing so, we notify the public of rulemaking activity through the Florida Administrative Register. Rulemaking often includes direct contact with those who may be affected, extensive discussions with stakeholder groups, and public meetings to gather input from interested parties.

Final decisions on rules usually happen at Commission meetings, held 5 times a year in locations throughout the state. FWC provides public notice of various meetings through our website calendar. To receive email updates, please subscribe to the Captive Wildlife email list through GovDelivery.

Rule Development - Injuries and Escapes

The FWC Captive Wildlife Section held nine public meetings and a public hearing on the proposed rule changes to 68A-6.018, 6.001, and 6.009 F.A.C., and solicited online comments from interested stakeholders. Many concerns raised by stakeholders have been taken into consideration.

Updated rule language is available below for review.

Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding this rule change can be found below.

FAQs: Injuries and Escapes

Rule 68A-6.018, F.A.C. - Injuries and Escapes

Rule 68A-6.001, F.A.C. - Captive Wildlife Definitions

Rule 68A-6.009, F.A.C. - General Regulations Governing Possession of Captive Wildlife

FWC removed the requirement for venomous reptile license holders to acquire phone numbers from their contiguous landowners.

FWC redefined ‘basic first aid’ to add clarity.

FWC created the threshold of ‘serious bodily injury’ for injury reporting for licensees and experienced individuals. In previous rule drafts, licensees and experienced individuals did not have a separate threshold than members of the public and were required to report any injuries beyond basic first aid.

FWC added clarifying language for Class III escapes to exclude reporting requirement for escapes from primary enclosures if found within 12 hours of escape.

FWC created a threshold above which escapes or injuries constitute a violation (previously any escape or injury constituted a violation).

Currently, FWC is unaware when repeated escapes occur from enclosures or repeated injuries occur from the same individual animals due to limited reporting requirements. This knowledge allows us to evaluate an animal’s compatibility with public contact (i.e. a lemur which repeatedly bites during contact events). This knowledge also allows us to evaluate animal’s unique behavior which compromises the integrity of an enclosure. (i.e. specific alligators which dig out of their enclosures).

Comprehensive data collected as a result of this rule change regarding injuries and escapes will assist FWC in future rule development efforts. FWC strives to make informed decisions regarding regulations.

Yes. Reporting requirements for injuries and property damage are found in other places in FWC regulations. The Captive Wildlife regulations are drafted to be consistent with other FWC rules.

327.301, F.S., states, “The operator of a vessel that is in any manner involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury, death, or disappearance of any person or damage to any vessel or other property in an apparent aggregate amount of at least $2,000 shall, within the time limits specified in 33 C.F.R. s. 173.55, forward a written report of the accident to the division.” (emphasis added).

33 CFR s 173.55, states, “The operator of a vessel shall submit the casualty or accident report prescribed in § 173.57 to the reporting authority prescribed in § 173.59 when, as a result of an occurrence that involves the vessel or its equipment: … (2) A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid…” (emphasis added).

The definition of “basic first aid” was taken from the definition provided by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

Injuries that require treatment beyond basic first aid but do not constitute serious bodily injury still have the potential to transmit disease.

FWC currently receives reports of injuries beyond basic first aid, but not constituting serious bodily injury; however, the reports are usually received from a third party due to the lack of reporting requirements in the current regulations. This delay in notification hinders FWC’s ability to assist licensees and members of the public in those cases and also prevents investigation into the situations causing the injuries.

Repeated instances of similar injuries by the same animals indicate that wildlife is potentially being maintained in an unsafe condition or that certain animals are not eligible to be used for public contact.

Injuries which are beyond basic first aid can lead to serious bodily injury in the future if unknown and unmitigated. Documenting injuries beyond basic first aid can assist with informing necessary changes to procedures or caging to prevent serious bodily injury in the future.

Limiting reporting to only serious bodily injury for those who volunteer at a captive wildlife facility would not capture repeated incidents that result in ‘lesser’ injuries to employees or volunteers. Repeated incidents can sometimes be indicative of unsafe practices and techniques or maintaining wildlife in unsafe housing which allows inexperienced people to access wildlife. Documenting injuries beyond basic first aid can assist with informing necessary changes to procedures or caging to prevent serious bodily injury in the future.

Additionally, some volunteers or employees may work directly with wildlife and some volunteers or employees may not work with wildlife at all. Therefore the threshold was set at the level of licensees or those with documented experience hours on file for the wildlife in question.

No. Not all escapes or injuries are a violation based on the proposed rule. Only those which resulted from maintaining wildlife in an unsafe manner or in a manner which results in a threat to public safety.

If an escape or injury does result in a violation, it does not mean an automatic denial or revocation of a license. FWC considers many factors when determining whether or not to deny or revoke a license based on violations.

No. Per the Department of Human Health and Human Services, "the HIPAA privacy rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other individually identifiable health information (collectively defined as “protected health information”) and applies to health plans, health care clearing houses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically."

The HIPAA privacy rule protects patients from having their medical records and protected health information disclosed by health care providers without their consent.

Florida’s ecosystem is susceptible to impacts by non-native species in ways not experienced by other states. Because of our temperate climate, many non-native species can survive in Florida year-round and out-compete our native wildlife for food and space. In order to protect Florida’s ecosystem from invasive species, we need robust regulations to combat the release or escape of non-native wildlife. Reporting requirements for captive wildlife escapes assist us in that effort.

Additionally, reporting requirements for escapes of captive wildlife – especially Class I, Class II, and venomous reptiles – are necessary for our FWC Investigators and Officers to maintain public safety in the cases of escaped wildlife.

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