Florida Exotic Animal Regulations
The following is an excerpt of Florida’s exotic animal regulations. This is not the complete regulation and should not be considered as such. The purpose of providing you, the reader, with this information is to encourage you to contact state authorities in Florida with any further questions you might have. We are unable to provide any legal advice regarding Florida’s laws (or the laws of any other state). Below the regulations we have included the contact information for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission who we believe is the agency best suited to assist regarding these regulations. Please note also that the information provided is in good faith and is accurate to the best of our knowledge however we DO NOT guarantee or make claims about the accuracy of the information.
Related Code and Regulations
UPDATE 7/16/2009 – Florida is now allowing expert herpetologists to hunt down and euthanize Burmese pythons and other “reptiles of concern” FWC approves of burmese hunt
The following species do not require a permit for personal possession as long as no other Rule or Statute applies. Examples include, but are not limited to, rules for Threatened or Endangered Species:
1. Reptiles, amphibians (nonvenomous native species that are not listed as endangered, threatened, species of special concern, or otherwise regulated; nonvenomous nonnative species not listed as Reptiles of Concern)
Reptiles of Concern include any species of the class Reptilia, including subspecies, taxonomic successors or hybrids thereof, which, due to its nature, has habits or the potential to impact the environment.
As of January 1, 2008, the following six species are listed as Reptiles of Concern:
A. Reptiles of Concern – including subspecies and hybrids thereof
- Burmese python (Python molurus)
- African rock python (Python sebae)
- Amethystine python (Morelia amethystinus)
- Reticulated python (Python reticulatus)
- Green anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
- Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus)
Anyone possessing Reptiles of Concern must be licensed, pay a fee of $100 per year, and meet new caging requirements. It is unlawful to release Reptiles of Concern to the wild or allow their escape. Anyone exhibiting or selling Reptiles of Concern must provide an inventory biannually. Anyone possessing Reptiles of Concern for personal use must provide an inventory annually and upon change of inventory.
Venomous Reptiles – Cage Enclosure ID System
Anyone possessing venomous reptiles must clearly mark each cage or enclosure with a card or sign stating “Danger Venomous Reptile.” The card or sign must also include the identification of the species inside by both common and scientific name. The card or sign must be clearly visible at all times and accompany the venomous reptile when removed from the cage for cleaning or transport.
Venomous Reptiles – Bite or Exposure Protocol
Facilities or premises where venomous reptiles are housed and maintained shall have a Bite or Exposure Protocol clearly posted on the premises in proximity to where the venomous reptiles are housed or maintained. This protocol shall include the common and scientific names of the specimen(s) housed and maintained within the facility, antivenin procedures required for treatment of each species and the location of the antivenin, emergency contact information, and a plan of action in case of a venomous reptile bite or venom exposure.
Nonnative Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern – Identification and Tagging Requirements
Live Nonnative Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern possessed for personal use must be permanently identified.
Each specimen of Nonnative Venomous Reptiles must be permanently identified by photograph or by implantation of a passive integrated transponder (PIT tag, also referred to as a microchip). Each specimen of Reptiles of Concern must be permanently identified by implantation of a PIT tag.
PIT tags must be implanted in the last 1/3 of the snake’s body forward of the anal plate. PIT tagging is required when the snake is 2 inches or greater in diameter. Nonnative venomous lizards and Nile monitor lizards of any size must be implanted in the body cavity forward of the hind leg, or in the hind leg. Owners must keep a record of the PIT tag number and specimen information.
Owners of any Nonnative Venomous Reptiles or Reptiles of Concern acquired prior to January 1, 2008 have until July 1, 2008 to meet the PIT-tagging requirement. Specimens acquired after January 1, 2008, must be permanently identified on acquisition.
Nonnative Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern – Escape
Anyone licensed or permitted to possess Nonnative Venomous Reptiles or Reptiles of Concern must report any escape to the FWC immediately upon discovery.
Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements – Venomous Reptiles (all) or Reptiles of Concern
Anyone licensed to possess live venomous reptiles or Reptiles of Concern now must maintain accurate records of all changes in inventory (e.g., births, deaths, acquisition, sales and transfers) on forms provided by the FWC. Records must be open to inspection on request by FWC personnel.
Anyone who exhibits or sells live venomous reptiles or Reptiles of Concern must submit the inventory records twice a year: once upon renewal of their license and again 6 months later. Anyone possessing live venomous reptiles or Reptiles of Concern for personal use must submit the inventory records upon renewal of their license and on any instance of inventory change.
Native Venomous Reptiles include:
- Coral snake (Micrurus fulvius)
Eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)
- Canebrake rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus atricaudatus)
- Pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius)
- Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)
- Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)
All other species of venomous reptiles are considered to be nonnative.
The following species, listed prior to June 23, 1999, are declared to be endangered.
No person shall pursue, molest, harm, harass, capture, possess, or sell any endangered species listed, parts thereof or their nests or eggs except as authorized by specific permit. Permits are issued only when the permitted activity will clearly enhance the survival potential of the species.
Reptiles only listed here –
(e) American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)
(f) Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
The following species are hereby declared to be threatened.
No person shall take, possess, transport, molest, harass or sell any threatened species, parts thereof or their nests or eggs except as authorized by specific permit from the FWC.
Permits are issued only for scientific or conservation purposes and only when the applicant shows that the permitted activity will not have a negative impact on the survival potential of the species.
Snakes only listed here –
- Key ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus acricus)
- Rim rock crowned snake (Tantilla oolitica)
- Short-tailed snake (Stilosoma extenuatum)
- Florida brown snake (Storeria dekayi victa) (lower keys population only)
- Florida ribbon snake (Thamnophis sauritus sackeni) (lower keys population only)
- Eastern Indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi)
- Atlantic salt marsh water snake (Nerodia clarkii taeniata)
Species of Special Concern
The following species are declared to be of special concern.
No person shall take, possess, transport, or sell, any species of special concern, parts thereof, or their nests or eggs except as authorized by Commission regulations, by permit from the FWC, or by statute or regulation of any other state agency. Permits are issued on reasonable conclusion that the permitted activity will not be detrimental to the survival potential of the species.
Snakes only listed here –
- Red rat snake (Elaphe guttata) (lower keys population only)
- Florida pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus)
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Farris Bryant Building 620 S. Meridian St. Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600 (850) 488-4676