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Nonnative Species Permit Applications and Information

FWC Commissioners approved changes to rule Chapter 68-5, F.A.C. on February 25, 2021. These changes placed 16 high-risk nonnative reptiles onto Florida’s Prohibited list.

Prohibited species may be possessed by permitted facilities for research, educational exhibition, or eradication and control purposes. They may not be possessed for commercial sale or as personal pets, except under some limited exceptions. Permittees must meet strict biosecurity and caging measures.

 

Permits Required

A permit is required to possess any Conditional or Prohibited species.

Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative species permit (CSP) applications:

Permit applications may be submitted by email to NonnativePermitApps@MyFWC.com or by mail to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Wildlife Impact Management Section, 620 South Meridian Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600.

Conditional Species

Conditional species may be imported and possessed by permitted entities for research, commercial import/export business or public educational exhibition. They may not be acquired or kept as personal pets, with the exception of red-eared sliders.

A Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative Species Permit (CSP) is required to legally import Conditional species into Florida and possess them for commercial import/export business, research or public educational exhibition per Chapter 68-5, Florida Administrative Code.

Individuals or businesses with a valid Aquaculture Certificate of Registration from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and authorization to possess Conditional (restricted) species, do not need a permit from the FWC to import or possess aquatic Conditional species; however, aquaculturists that engage in direct retail sales of Conditional species in addition to their fish farming business do need an FWC permit to import or possess Conditional species.

Conditional species may be sold or transferred only to people who hold a permit to import or possess that particular species, or to people who hold a valid Aquaculture Certificate with Conditional (restricted) species authorization. All imported Conditional species must be maintained in accordance to the provisions provided in Chapter 68-5, F.A.C., or in compliance with FDACS Aquaculture Best Management Practices.

A Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative Species Permit is required to import and possess Conditional species for commercial import/export business, public educational exhibition, or research.

Individuals may apply for a Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative Species Permit to possess red-eared sliders as personal pets. Individuals must have adequate indoor tanks or outdoor enclosures that are fully enclosed by a barrier secured at least 6 inches below ground and that will prevent escape of turtles by digging, climbing or crawling through gaps. Any red-eared slider eggs must be destroyed on a daily basis. Albino and amelanistic red-eared sliders may be possessed as pets without a permit.

Triploid grass carp used for aquatic weed control are not included under the Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative Species Permit. Permits for using triploid grass carp for weed control must be applied for online. For information on any other permits for triploid or diploid grass carp use, please contact Invasive Plant Management at 850-617-9430.

Prohibited Species

People in possession of any Prohibited species as personal pets prior to their listing as Prohibited may apply for a Prohibited Species for Personal Use Permit to maintain that pet for the life of the animal. Only animals possessed prior to their listing are eligible to be permitted for personal possession. All pets must be marked with a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag. No new pets of these species may be acquired or brought into Florida after they are listed as Prohibited. Applications for the Prohibited Species for Personal Use Permit will be accepted until 90 days after their listing.

To legally import Prohibited species into Florida for research or public exhibition, it is necessary to have a Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative Species Permit from the FWC. Importation is only authorized in limited circumstances, per Chapter 68-5, Florida Administrative Code. Prohibited species may not be imported for commercial sale or as pets.

Prohibited species may be transferred only to people who hold a permit to import or possess that particular species. All Prohibited species must be maintained in accordance with the provisions provided in Chapter 68-5, F.A.C.

Additional regulations restrict the importation, possession and transfer of certain Prohibited aquatic species.

People who personally own any Prohibited species who do not submit the application for the Prohibited Species for Personal Use Permit or who do not wish to keep their pet can get help through the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program. This program helps find adopters for exotic pets that people no longer wish to keep. Surrendered animals are placed with qualified, permitted recipients.

Qualifying people or businesses selling green iguanas or tegus may apply for a Limited Exception Commercial Use Permit for those species. To qualify for this permit, applicants must have had a valid ESC license on June 30, 2020 and must have documented possession or planned possession of tegus and/or green iguanas on their 2018 or 2019 ESC license application. Sellers must meet increased caging and biosecurity requirements for these species. All green iguanas and tegus must be marked with a PIT tag prior to sale. Commercial breeding of green iguanas or tegus for the purposes of sale will be phased out by June 30, 2024.

Importing Leopard Tortoises, African Spurred Tortoises, and Bell's Hingeback Tortoises

A permit is needed to import Leopard, African Spurred, and Bell's Hingeback Tortoises into the state. A health certificate must be obtained from a licensed veterinarian certifying that each tortoise has no external parasites. A health certificate, written notice of the shipment, and the permit application must be submitted to the FWC no less than 10 days prior to the arrival of any tortoise.

All containers used to transport tortoises must be disinfected prior to importation and must be incinerated within 24 hours of arrival in the state or exported out of Florida within 72 hours.

Removing Nonnative Species from the Wild

Nonnative reptiles can be humanely killed on private lands at any time with landowner permission - no permit required. Nonnative reptiles may also be killed at any time throughout the year from 25 Wildlife Management Areas, Public Small Game Hunting Areas and Wildlife and Environmental Areas covered in Executive Order (EO) 20-17. There is no bag limit and nonnative reptiles may be humanely killed by any means other than traps or firearms (unless provided for by specific area regulations).

On FWC-managed lands (e.g., Wildlife Management Areas, Wildlife and Environmental Areas) not listed in EO 20-17, a permit is required to collect any nonnative species. This includes collection for the purposes of commercial sale, public educational exhibition or research. Additionally, if nonnative species are to be collected for commercial sale, a commercial fishing license is required for nonnative fish and a Class III License for Exhibition or Public Sale (ESC) is required for any Class III wildlife. A CSP is required if Conditional species are collected for the purpose of public educational exhibition or commercial import/export business. 

All FWC-managed areas where specimens are to be removed must be listed on the application. Use of gear types (nets, spears, etc.) must also be listed on the permit application.

Permits will not be issued for removal of species on non-FWC managed properties. Permission to do so must be obtained directly from the landowner. Conditional or Prohibited species removed from properties not managed by the FWC cannot be transported alive without a CSP for Eradication and Control.

People or businesses removing Prohibited species for eradication and control purposes may apply for a permit to live transport those animals. All animals removed under an eradication and control permit must be humanely killed, except for businesses that also have a limited exception commercial use permit for tegus and/or green iguanas. Tegus or green iguanas removed by people with both an eradication and control and a limited exception commercial use permit may be sold to other permitted sellers or to out of state buyers.

Captive Wildlife Permits

Importation, and/or Possession of Class I, II, or III Wildlife that are not listed as Conditional or Prohibited species are available for the following purposes: traveling to Florida with pets, zoo to zoo transfers, dealer to dealer transfers, and out of state dealer to instate buyer transfers, exhibition or sale. 

More about captive wildlife permitting