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Information for Zoos and Other Exhibitors

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Under the changes to 379.372, Florida Statutes educational exhibition facilities may still qualify for a permit to possess green iguanas, tegus and the currently listed Conditional snakes and lizards. Exhibitors must have a permanent, fixed facility where these species are exhibited to the public during regularly scheduled business hours, either through scheduled tours or general admission. Exhibitors must have their facilities inspected and submit documentation of their educational exhibition activities with their permit application.

An Argentine black and white tegu in Hillsborough County. Photo by Necia Godzisz.

Facilities in possession of Conditional reptiles, green iguanas or tegus that will not qualify for an educational exhibition permit can begin to sell those animals out of state or rehome them through the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program before the statute changes become effective on July 1, 2020. People selling nonnative wildlife must have a valid ESC license. Any sales to out-of-state entities must be conducted in compliance with any applicable federal or state rules. If the buyer is in another state, the recipient state may have regulations or permitting requirements that apply to these species. Some species are also regulated federally through mechanisms such as the Lacey Act (Injurious Wildlife) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Any federal requirements still apply to these species.

The FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program assists people in possession of exotic pets they can no longer keep. This no-cost, no-penalty program helps exotic pet owners and protects Florida’s unique native wildlife by providing a legal alternative to unwanted pets being released into Florida’s environment. FWC staff are ready to assist people in possession of green iguanas, tegus and other affected species who wish to find those animals a new home. All surrendered animals will be placed with pre-qualified adopters. It is illegal to release any nonnative species into the wild, pursuant to Section 379.231, F.S.