Exotic Pet Amnesty Program FAQs
Rehoming Nonnative Pets
Florida residents in possession of a nonnative species kept as a pet can request to rehome their pet through this program.
We accept nonnative species kept as pets including reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and mammals. Pets are accepted for rehoming all year via the Invasive Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (483-4681) and at Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events.
Native species kept as pets are not accepted as part of this program. Also, domestic pets including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and livestock (Ex. pigs and chickens) are not accepted. Owners of domestic animals should inquire with local pet shelters or rescues for options on rehoming their pets.
The program will attempt to match the nonnative pet with a qualified adopter from our network. Owners will continue to provide pet housing and care until an adopter contacts them. Owners will arrange transfer of the pet directly with the qualified adopter.
Note: The rehoming process is different during Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events, please see more information below.
No. The Exotic Pet Amnesty Program does not euthanize nonnative pets. A veterinarian participating in an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event may recommend euthanasia for the welfare of the pet.
Yes. The program recommends owners have the animal examined by a veterinarian and submit any treatment plans or records of the condition (including pictures of body condition) to PetAmnesty@myFWC.com. This information will help inform an adopter of the current condition of the pet and the future care required. Adoption of sick or injured pets is not guaranteed.
The program does not accept dying pets and does not provide euthanasia services. The Exotic Pet Amnesty Program does not euthanize nonnative pets. A veterinarian participating in an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event may recommend euthanasia for the welfare of the pet.
We strive to place nonnative pets into new homes that provide them the best chance at living a long and happy life. If the pets you want to rehome are bonded, every effort will be made to place the animals together.
When you request to rehome your pet, you may discuss this with the adopter. The program cannot guarantee that the person who adopts your pet will be open to contacting you.
Every effort will be made to place nonnative pets with new homes with adopters in Florida and across the US. If a pet is not adopted, we will work with owners to determine additional options.
PLEASE NOTE: Finding homes for red-eared sliders can take longer than a year. These turtles are the most common pet rehomed in this program, with very limited options for placement. Owners are encouraged to seek alternative Red-eared slider placement on their own.
We can help rehome nonnative pets outside of amnesty events. Contact the Invasive Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (483-4681) or complete the Request to Rehome Form any time throughout the year.
Adopting Nonnative Pets
Complete the adoption application. All information must be completed and submitted before the application will be processed.
Applicants may apply to adopt from multiple pet categories. Additional pet categories may be added to your adopter profile at any time.
Adopters receive emails from the program whenever their preferred pet species are available for rehoming. It is important to keep your animal category preferences and contact information up to date to receive these emails.
Adopters have access to a private program page listing available nonnative pets, along with owner contact information. Adopters must have the animal category approved on their acceptance letter to adopt the pet and the appropriate permits or licenses for possession if required. All arrangements for transfer of the animal are made directly between the adopter and current owner.
It is free to become an adopter! There are no application fees and there is no fee to adopt a pet through the program. However, the cost of supporting a pet for the remainder of its life should be considered before applying.
Yes! Each request is evaluated based on the experience documented in the application. Adopters may only adopt pets from categories for which they are approved and possess the valid permit or license, if required. Adopters can also request to add categories to their profile after their initial application has been approved.
Some species do not require a permit for personal pet possession. If the pet does require a permit for possession, you must be approved for that permit before you may adopt.
More information on:
Rule change for invasive reptiles
Regulations for captive wildlife
Yes. The applications demonstrate your knowledge of the species and the care requirements. All information must be provided to be approved to adopt through the program.
Exotic Pet Amnesty Day Events
Nonnative pets can be dropped off at the event for rehoming between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Every pet is examined by a veterinarian, and all healthy pets are placed with qualified adopters that same day.
Due to the high volume of red-eared sliders in need of rehoming, they will NOT be accepted at Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events (unless specifically pre-arranged by the FWC).
First and foremost, bring your pet —in a transportable container that you are willing to part with. Additionally, you can bring anything involved in the care or caging of the pet that you no longer wish to keep. Anything you bring with the pet will go to the new home. This includes caging, food, vitamins, toys, and anything else you commonly use in the care of your pet.
We have no way of knowing prior to an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event what species of nonnative pets, or how many, will be available. In general, we see many animals that can be purchased easily at local pet stores such as ball pythons, chameleons, and pond turtles. While less common, we also see small birds, parrots, boa constrictors, and tortoises with some frequency.
Adopters should check in by 1:45 pm. At 2:00 pm, adopters may view the nonnative pets available for adoption that day. Adopters participate in a drawing to create a random adoption order. The first adopter called may adopt one pet from a category for which they are approved. This process continues until every adopter receives an opportunity to adopt a pet and all pets are adopted. Individual adopters receive priority over commercial sellers to adopt available pets.
Approved adopters must bring a copy of their acceptance letter and valid permits or licenses, if required, for the species they wish to adopt.
Adopters should bring a form of containment for pet transport such as a small kennel, a large Tupperware, or even a cloth bag. Adopters should assume that the animal they are adopting may not come with a habitat or appropriate containment for transport and be prepared to provide these items. Conditional and Prohibited species must be transported in compliance with the rules for nonnative species.