Pythons aren’t the only invasive species in Florida, though they have been garnering quite a bit of attention recently. Federal wildlife agencies have been continuing their efforts to control the population of many exotic species that have been threatening native wildlife for years, and pythons are only a small part of the problem. Though it is illegal to release non-native species into the wild, many pet owners break the rules when they can no longer, or no longer want to, take care of these exotic animals.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently had a pet amnesty event in Fort Myers to give pet owners the opportunity to surrender their non-native pets without penalties and fees. FWC says that over 500 different species non-native to Florida have been discovered in the wild, which can pose a problem to the native species throughout the state.

The FWC aims to discourage exotic pet owners from releasing the animals into the wild when they no longer want to care for them with events such as the one in Fort Myers. These events are held throughout the state every so often by the Florida Wildlife Commission and accept all exotic animals including reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and invertebrates. Pet amnesty events allow visitors to learn about non-native species issues that have been a center of Florida wildlife for years. The animals that are surrendered are then evaluated by veterinarians and placed with qualified adopters who are certified to care for the animals.

You can learn about upcoming pet amnesty day events here, at the FWC website. Visit Wild Florida and our Florida airboat tours to catch a glimpse of the native Florida animals that call our swamp home. For more information on our Florida airboat tours, call us at 407-901-2563 and don’t miss out on this unique Florida eco-tour!

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