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Exotic Pet Amnesty Program FAQs

Surrendering Pets Frequently Asked Questions

We accept all nonnative species of reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and invertebrates at Exotic Pet Amnesty events. Domestic pets, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, and chickens are not accepted. Native species are also not accepted as part of this program. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the high volume of red-eared sliders surrendered, they will NOT be accepted at Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events (unless specifically arranged by the FWC). Please call 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681) to be put on the waitlist for adoption.

Nonnative pets can be surrendered between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, no questions asked. Every pet that is surrendered is inspected by a veterinarian, and all healthy pets are placed with pre-qualified adopters that same day. Our qualified adopters have submitted applications that demonstrate they know how to care for the animals they are approved to adopt.

First and foremost, your pet - preferably in a transportable container that you are willing to part with. Additionally, you can bring anything involved in the care or caging of the animal that you no longer wish to keep. Anything you surrender with the animal will go with that animal to its new home. This includes caging, food, vitamins, toys, and anything else you commonly use in the care of your animal.

We strive to place animals into new homes and environments that will provide them the best chance at living a long and happy life. If the animals you surrender are bonded together every effort will be made to place the animals into a new home together. This is usually easy to accommodate if the animals are in pairs or trios.

When you surrender your animal you are welcome to leave your name and contact information for the new owner of your animal. However, we cannot guarantee that the person who adopts your animal will be open to contacting you.

So far, we have been successful with having all healthy animals adopted during an event. However, in the rare event that an animal is not adopted, we may hold that animal while we contact pre-approved adopters in the area who may not have been able to attend the event.

PLEASE NOTE: Finding homes for red-eared sliders 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.

We can help place nonnative pets outside of amnesty events. Contact the Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (483-4681).

Adopting Pets Frequently Asked Questions

It’s free to be an adopter! There are no application fees and there is no fee to adopt an animal through the program. However, the cost of supporting a pet for the remainder of its life should be taken into account before applying.

Simply fill out and submit an adoption application. There are two parts to the adoption application. Both parts must be completed and submitted before the application will be processed.

Adopter Information Form
Animal Information Form

Applicants only need to submit the Applicant Information Form once, but can submit more than one Animal Information Form or submit additional Animal Information Forms at a later date. The Animal Information Form has a drop-down list of animal categories; applicants can choose one category per animal form.

Forms can be submitted online (if using Adobe versions 9 or X) or printed and mailed to the address listed on the last page. All forms must be signed by digital signature or by hand. If your application is unsatisfactory, it will be returned to you for improvement. If your application is approved, you will receive a letter of acceptance.

Please be aware that we can’t approve anyone as an adopter at an amnesty event; you must apply prior to the event so we have time to review your application and conduct a background check. In most cases, applications must be received by midnight on the Wednesday before an event to allow time for processing and approval for that event.

An applicant may complete and submit multiple Animal Information Forms as long as each form is completed specifically for one species category. Each form will be processed and considered independently. All categories the adopter is approved for will be added to their adopter profile and kept on file. Adopters may adopt animals from each species category for which they are approved. Adopters can also submit additional Animal Information Forms at any time to add new categories after their initial application has been approved.

A list of adoption categories can be found here:  Adoption Categories

If the animal requires a permit for possession you will need to have that permit in place before you can be approved to adopt that animal. Information on these types of animals and the permits required to possess them can be found online in the FWC Captive Wildlife area. You don’t need a permit to adopt animals that do not require a permit for possession, many fish species, and some invertebrates like tarantulas and emperor scorpions.  

If you have a Class III permit, you still need to fill out both the Applicant and Animal Information Forms. In addition, if you have a Class III License for Public Sales or Exhibition, you’ll need to sign and notarize our Dealer Affidavit if you do NOT intend to sell or trade the animals you adopt. The Dealer Affidavit can be found on the last page of the Applicant Information Form.

We waive the Animal Information Forms for those species that require annual inspections: Class I, Class II, Conditional species, and venomous species, however, applicants still need to fill out the Applicant Information Form.

Adopters should check in at Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events in at 1:45 pm. Shortly after 2:00 pm, we allow all adopters to see the animals that will be available for adoption that day. After every adopter has had an opportunity to see the animals we conduct a drawing to create a random adoption order. The first adopter called gets to adopt one animal from a category for which they are approved. This process continues until every adopter has had a chance to go through and adopt an animal. If there are still animals available for adoption we will conduct a second random drawing.  

We have no way of knowing prior to an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event what species of nonnative animals, or how many, will be surrendered. Also, we allow for the surrender of most* nonnative pets so we receive a great variety of animals. In general, we see a lot of animals that can be purchased easily at local pet stores such as ball pythons, green iguanas, pond turtles, and sugar gliders. While less common, we also see small birds, parrots, boa constrictors, and tortoises with some frequency.

Red-eared sliders are not accepted at Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events unless specifically arranged by the Exotic Pet Amnesty Coordinator because adoption times for these animals can take longer than a year. Adopters of these turtles can receive emails about these animals at any time during the year. 

If you plan on adopting an animal at an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event you should bring something to transport that animal home. Depending on what you are approved for this could be a small kennel, a large Tupperware, or even a cloth bag. Don’t assume the animal you are adopting will come with a habitat or something appropriate for transport.

Persons authorized to possess Conditional snake and lizard species are required to maintain an accurate record of changes in inventory. If you adopt a Conditional species through the Exotic Pet Amnesty Program, simply fill out the Captive Wildlife Inventory-Donated Reptile Form and e-mail it to or mail it to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Division of Law Enforcement, 620 South Meridian Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600.

Captive Wildlife Inventory-Donated Reptile Form