Non-native Pet Amnesty Day this Saturday

Python found in Everglades &#169 National Park Service

Python found in Everglades © National Park Service


Florida Travel Guide to Non-native Pet Amnesty Day

National park and wildlife officials are hard at work to reduce the nonnative species that pet owners dump into the wild when they can’t care for them or don’t want to keep them.   One of the efforts to educate the public and offer solutions is the Non-native pet Amnesty Day where owners can give up their exotic pets with no fees, penalties or questions asked.

Pets that are accepted

The following non-native pets are accepted at Amnesty Day:

  • reptiles
  • amphibians
  • birds
  • fish
  • mammals
  • invertebrates

No domestic pets, such as dogs or cats are accepted. Please note that ferrets are considered a domestic pet.

Responsible Pet Ownership

If you are an owner of an exotic pet or interested in acquiring a nonnative species, this is a great opportunity to speak with experts to understand the animal’s needs and make sure that it is a good fit.  Low cost microchipping is sometimes offered at these events.

Pet adopters

If you want to adopt a pet from the Amnesty Day, you have to submit an application for review by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) before the event. If you don’t have your letter of acceptance from FWC, you can’t receive one of the animals.

Releasing Pets into the Wild

More than 400 nonnative species have been spotted in Florida, and each year, 2 or 3 new species are introduced. The scary thing is that more than 130 of them are reproducing. Think twice before releasing your non-native pet into the wild. Not only is it illegal – it can also have economic and ecological implications. Invasions cost more than $500 million per year but the greatest impact is on the native landscape, wildlife and agricultural crops. It’s estimated that within Florida more than 1.7 million acres have been infested.

Invasives Species

Non-native species are animals and plants that didn’t historically live in Florida, such as the barred owl or Florida largemouth bass. There are more than 500 nonnative fish and wildlife species in Florida and more than 1180 nonnative plant species. Non-native species can become invasive if they survive in the Florida environment and take root, start to spread and impact local populations. Take the Cuban tree frog, for example, that snuck into Florida in the 1930s via packing materials, and preyed on native tree frogs. Currently, nile monitor lizards in Cape Coral threaten the Florida burrowing owl and Burmese pythons are a growing cause of concern in the Everglades.


  • Saturday, March 10 from 10 am to 2 pm
  • Miami Zoo
  • 12400 SW 152 Street Miami, FL 33177

Tell us…

Do you own an exotic pet or non-native species?