Florida's Nonnative Fish and Wildlife
Nonnative species do not belong in Florida. Some do not cause many, if any, problems. Others, however, are invasive, meaning that they negatively impact native fish and wildlife, cause damage that is costly to repair, or pose a threat to human health and safety.
The Nonnative Fish and Wildlife Program aims to minimize the adverse impacts of nonnative species in Florida through prevention, early detection, rapid response, control and management, and education and outreach. Our staff monitor and remove nonnative species, respond to new invasions, and assess the risk of species not yet present in our state. We oversee programs designed to get people involved develop educational handouts and routinely engage with the public at festivals, public workshops and other special events. Our staff also oversee permitting for nonnative species and manage research contracts that increase our understanding about nonnative species and help evaluate innovative management strategies.
The Exotic Pet Amnesty Program promotes responsible pet ownership and helps prevent nonnative animals from being released into the wild by providing exotic pet owners who can no longer keep their pets with a legal and responsible alternative to releasing them.
People can surrender their exotic pets at one-day-only Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events or year-round by calling the Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (483-4681). Most exotic pets, including ones held illegally, are accepted without penalty. PLEASE NOTE: Finding homes for large pond turtles (red-eared sliders, yellow-bellied sliders, cooters, chicken turtles, and redbelly turtles) can take longer than a year. These turtles WILL NOT be accepted at Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events unless specifically arranged by the FWC. Owners of these turtles should call the FWC's Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681) to be put on the adoption wait list.
Surrendered exotic pets are placed with pre-approved adopters. The FWC is always in need of new adopters, and there is no cost to apply.
Our staff work throughout Florida to educate and engage the public on nonnative species issues. Our current public workshops include:
- Python Patrol Training Workshops: learn how to safely capture Burmese pythons through hands-on training
- Iguana Technical Assistance Workshops: learn what you can do to help deter or control iguanas on your property
Nonnative Fish and Wildlife Program staff routinely attend festivals and special events, and help educate the public about nonnative species issues by providing informational handouts and answering questions. Our staff has produced brochures, flyers, and information cards that are available for public use and can be downloaded and printed. A well-informed Florida is one of the FWC's greatest assets!
Nonnative Conditional species (formerly referred to as restricted species) and Prohibited species are considered to be dangerous to Florida’s native species and habitats or could pose threats to the health and welfare of the people of Florida. These species are not allowed to be personally possessed, but can be imported and possessed by permit for research or public exhibition; Conditional species may also be possessed by permit for commercial sales. Facilities where Conditional or Prohibited species are held must meet certain biosecurity criteria to prevent escape.
Keep your eyes open and your cameras ready! You can help the FWC by submitting reports of nonnative species. state. This information helps us assess the distribution and abundance of nonnative species in Florida, detect the arrival of new exotic species, or identify range expansions by exotics that are already here.