The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is looking for qualified people willing to adopt exotic pets through the Exotic Pet Amnesty Program. Adopters must be knowledgeable about the natural history, care and safe caging requirements of the exotic pets they are interested in adopting.
Exotic pets need new homes because they have been surrendered to the FWC by owners who can no longer care for them.
“The FWC invites people to consider becoming qualified exotic pet adopters,” said Liz Barraco, who coordinates the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program. “It’s a great way to help prevent the release of nonnatives while providing these pets a home where they will be properly cared for and safely caged. The FWC is committed to promoting responsible ownership of exotic pets in Florida, which can do harm to native wildlife and habitat if released,” Barraco said.
Interested in adopting an exotic pet? Go to MyFWC.com/Nonnatives to download the applications. There are two forms to be filled out: Part 1 is the application to become an approved adopter and Part 2 identifies the applicant’s experience and knowledge regarding a specific type of exotic pet.
“People considering taking one of these animals home need to think about the level of responsibility and long-term commitment involved. Many exotic pets live for a long time, and some get quite big,” Barraco said. “While there are no adoption fees, people should be aware that caring for an exotic pet can be expensive.”
Qualified pet adopters will have opportunities to adopt animals at upcoming FWC Exotic Pet Amnesty Days, where owners with exotic pets can turn them in with no penalties or cost. But don’t forget that pet adopters must be qualified by the FWC in advance of these events:
- West Palm Beach – Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Dreher Park Garden Club, 4800 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach, FL 33405.
- Naples – Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples, FL 34119
- Sponsors: The FWC, Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, Florida Defenders of Wildlife, Collier County and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
- Melbourne – Saturday, April 11, 2015, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Wickham Park Pavilion, 3845 N Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL 32935.
- Sponsors: The FWC and Eastern Florida State College’s Melbourne Wildlife Club.
At Exotic Pet Amnesty Days, which are free and open to the public, veterinarians examine each surrendered exotic pet, and every attempt is made to place healthy animals with qualified adopters. Additionally, live animals are on display, and experts are available to talk to people about proper care of exotic pets.
Can’t attend an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day to adopt a pet? The FWC keeps qualified pet adopters’ applications on file and can contact approved adopters throughout the year when an animal becomes available in their area.