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Draft Rules Regarding Invasive Nonnative Reptiles

A green iguana on a trail near a pond

At the FWC’s July Commission Meeting, Commissioners unanimously approved draft rules regarding invasive, nonnative reptiles for advertisement and development. Details about the drafts are below. The drafts include reporting requirements for permittees, biosecurity requirements to limit escape of these high-risk species, and some additional clarifying language.

In all rulemaking processes, FWC staff work closely with stakeholders to provide recommendations to the Commission. The FWC will host online stakeholder workshops to present proposed rule changes and collect public comment.

To stay informed, stakeholders can monitor Commission meeting agendas for items related to this topic and subscribe to receive news related to nonnative fish and wildlife by email.

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Submit your comments on the proposed draft rules.

Draft Rules

Definitions

These proposed rule changes include adding a definition for the term “eradication and control” to clarify its meaning in this rule chapter.

Read the draft rule language for 68-5.002

Conditional Non-native Species

These proposed rule changes include removing the currently listed Conditional snakes and lizards so they may instead be listed as Prohibited species in Rule 68-5.006. Conditional snake and lizard species may only be possessed by permit for educational exhibition, research, or commercial import/export use. Prohibited species may only be possessed by permit for educational exhibition or research use. Conditional and Prohibited species may not be possessed as personal pets.

Read the draft rule language for 68-5.004

Possession of Conditional Non-native Species

These proposed rule changes include a correction to an incorrect reference in the provisions for Conditional species research permits.

Read the draft rule language for 68-5.005

Prohibited Non-native Species

These proposed rule changes include the addition of green iguanas (Iguana iguana) and tegus (genera Salvator and Tupinambis, all species) to the Prohibited species list and the movement of the currently listed Conditional snakes and lizards to the Prohibited species list. Conditional snake and lizard species may only be possessed by permit for educational exhibition, research, or commercial import/export use. Prohibited species may only be possessed by permit for educational exhibition or research use. Conditional and Prohibited species may not be possessed as personal pets.

Some limited exceptions for the possession of green iguanas and tegus for commercial use are included in the draft changes to Rule 68-5.007. Green iguanas and tegus possessed as personal pets prior to July 1, 2020, are also eligible to continue to be possessed for the remainder of the individual animal’s life with a no-cost permit. No new pet green iguanas or tegus can be acquired after July 1, 2020.

Read the draft rule language for 68-5.006

Possession of Prohibited Non-native Species

These proposed rule changes include language establishing new and clarifying existing permitting, biosecurity, recordkeeping and reporting requirements. The draft also establishes new language for eradication and control permits.

Some limited exceptions for the possession of green iguanas and tegus for commercial use are included in the draft changes to Rule 68-5.007. Green iguanas and tegus possessed as personal pets prior to July 1, 2020, are also eligible to continue to be possessed as pets with a no-cost permit for the life of the individual animals. No new pet green iguanas or tegus can be acquired after July 1, 2020.

Read the draft rule language for 68-5.007

Amnesty for Persons Relinquishing Non-native Pets

These proposed rule changes include clarifications for rules related to the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program. This program is an effort to reduce the number of nonnative species being released into the wild by pet owners who can no longer care for their pets or no longer wish to keep them.

Read the draft rule language for 68-5.008

Nonnative Reptiles Risk Screening Summaries

FWC staff use a risk screening tool developed by the University of Florida to help with invasive animal management. The tool uses a variety of factors to produce an Invasion Assessment Score and a Feasibility of Control Score. These scores provide a recommendation on whether biologists should respond to remove the species from the wild and provides a quick look at the potential risks posed by a species.