Information for Pet Owners
Acquisition of green iguanas or tegus as personal pets is no longer allowed in Florida beginning July 1, 2020. The FWC recognizes there are individuals who already possess the newly regulated species as personal pets. People in possession of pet tegus or green iguanas prior to July 1, 2020 may apply for a no-cost Prohibited Species for Personal Use Permit to maintain that pet for rest of its life. Only animals possessed prior to July 1, 2020 are eligible to be permitted for personal possession. All pet green iguanas and tegus must be marked with a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag. People who have these animals as pets will have until 90 days after new FWC rules are established in 68-5, F.A.C. to obtain a Prohibited Species for Personal Use Permit for these pets.
These newly listed species may not be acquired as new pets as of July 1, 2020. If an animal remains alive following the death or dissolution of the licensee, the animal may be legally transferred to another entity holding a permit authorizing possession of that species for the remainder of the pet’s life. No additional animals may be acquired with a Prohibited Species for Personal Use Permit.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Invasive nonnative species are one of the most significant threats to global biodiversity, second only to habitat loss. Green iguanas and tegus are established, invasive species in Florida. Regulating their possession and trade is just one aspect of the overall management of these species in the state.
An individual who possessed green iguanas or tegu lizards in personal possession prior to July 1, 2020 may obtain a permit for prohibited species for personal use by FWC to lawfully possess that animal for the remainder of its life. These permitted pets must be PIT tagged, which can be done by a local veterinarian, and permit applicants must submit their pet’s PIT tag number on the application. The statute allows people to continue to maintain their pets for the life of the individual animals as long as they have a valid permit. No new pet green iguanas or tegus may be obtained after July 1, 2020.
If individuals do not want to obtain a permit to keep their iguana or tegu as a personal pet or are no longer able to keep their pet, those animals can be surrendered to the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program where staff will work to find them homes with qualified adopters. There is no cost or penalty associated with surrendering a pet through this program. It is illegal to release any nonnative species into the wild, pursuant to Section 379.231, F.S.
An ESC license is required to sell any pet green iguanas or tegus.
No. After July 1, 2020 no new pet green iguanas or tegus can be acquired, including wild-caught animals.