Surrender A Nonnative Exotic Pet
No penalty, no fee.
The purpose of the Exotic Pet Amnesty Program is to reduce the number of nonnative pets released into the wild by owners who can no longer provide pet care. Owners of nonnative species may surrender their pets at any time. The program offers temporary amnesty to individuals regardless of the reason for pet surrender. Owners who choose to surrender a nonnative pet through the program will face no legal penalties or pay any fees. Surrendered animals are placed only with approved program adopters.
Owners may choose from these surrender options:
- Email the Surrender Form to PetAmnesty@MyFWC.com
- Call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (483-4681)
- Surrender a nonnative pet in-person at Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events scheduled throughout the year
Surrendered nonnative pets are rehomed only with approved adopters.
FWC staff will facilitate the adoption process between the surrendering owner and an approved adopter. Unless attending an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day Event, owners will need to keep their animal(s) until transfer to the approved adopter. The surrendering owner is responsible for continued housing and care until an approved adopter is found. Surrendered nonnative pets are not euthanized unless recommended by a veterinarian during an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event.
Important Information for Exotic Pet Owners
How do I surrender my nonnative pet?
You may request to surrender your nonnative exotic pets anytime by sending the Surrender form and photos to PetAmnesty@MyFWC.com or by calling the Exotic Species Hotline (1-888-1veGot1). FWC staff will facilitate the adoption process between the surrendering owner and an approved adopter. Owners will need to keep possession of their animal(s) until transfer to the approved adopter.
The FWC hosts multiple Exotic Pet Amnesty Days every year throughout the state. Nonnative pets may be surrendered at these events and placed the same day with approved adopters.
Red-eared Slider Policy
Due to high volume of this species and not enough adopters, red-eared sliders will NOT be accepted at Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events (unless specifically arranged by the FWC). Please email PetAmnesty@MyFWC.com or call 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681) to be put on the waitlist for adoption.
We need red-eared slider adopters! If you are interested in becoming a red-eared slider adopter, please visit the Adoptions page and fill out the applications.
Red-eared sliders are a Conditional species in Florida and may not be owned as pets. Exotic Pet Amnesty adopters must qualify for a permit to possess this aquatic species.
Native species options
The Exotic Pet Amnesty program is meant for owners to surrender their nonnative exotic pet species they no longer wish or are able to keep, rather than releasing them into the Florida environment.
Native species kept as pets are outside the scope of this program. Owners of native pet wildlife should visit the Captive Wildlife page to find more information on regulations and options for their native animals. Domestic pets, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, and chickens are not accepted. Owners of domestic animals should inquire with local pet shelters or rescues for options on rehoming their pets.
Though the Exotic Pet Amnesty Program does not accept native wildlife for surrender, we will refer owners to their local Captive Wildlife Investigator for native species and the appropriate wildlife rehabilitator for injured or orphaned native wildlife. Email the program at PetAmnesty@MyFWC.com for more information.
Surrendering Pets Frequently Asked Questions
We accept all nonnative species of reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and invertebrates for year-round surrender and 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. Report sick or injured wildlife by contacting a local wildlife rehabilitator or calling the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline.
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 pre-arranged by the FWC).
The FWC will facilitate the adoption process between a surrendering owner and approved adopter. If not at an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event, you will need to keep your pet until we contact you with an interested adopter. You can make arrangements directly with that adopter to transfer the animal(s). Our qualified adopters have submitted applications that demonstrate they know how to care for the animals they are approved to adopt.
At Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events, 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.
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 pre-arranged by the FWC.