FWC approves new rules for Burmese python
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Media contact: Gabriella Ferraro, 772-215-9459; Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130
(Back to Commission meeting
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) approved changes to the classification of Burmese
pythons and other constrictor reptiles at a meeting Thursday in
Under the new rules, Floridians will not be able to
acquire Burmese pythons and other reptiles of concern as pets.
However, the FWC advises people who currently hold a reptile of
concern license for a Burmese/Indian python, reticulated python,
green anaconda, Nile monitor lizard, African rock python, or
amethystine python that they will be allowed to keep the pet for
the life of that animal under the new rules.
These rule changes implement a bill by Sens.
Eleanor Sobel and Lee Constantine, and Reps. Trudi Williams and
Ralph Poppell. It passed in the Florida Legislature, and Gov.
Charlie Crist signed it in June.
All species listed as reptiles of concern in
Florida will be removed and placed in the category of conditional
species. In addition, African rock pythons will be split into two
species: northern African pythons and southern African pythons.
Amethystine pythons will be split into the amethystine pythons and
scrub pythons. Dealers, breeders, exhibitors and researchers will
be permitted to possess conditional snakes and lizards for sale
In addition to allowing current reptile of concern
pet owners to keep their reptiles, the Commission approved an
extension of the 24/7 amnesty rule to include conditional snakes
and lizards. This will allow anyone who can no longer keep these
species as pets to turn them over to a licensed dealer. The FWC
stresses that no nonnative species should ever be released into the
Burmese pythons in particular have established
breeding populations in parts of South Florida, and the FWC, in
partnership with state and federal agencies, works diligently to
control the current wild population. As a result of this effort,
the FWC also approved the take of conditional species in four
wildlife management areas in South Florida during established
hunting seasons for game animals and alligators by properly
licensed or permitted hunters. Guns may be used only during a gun
season or during the extended spring season, March 8 - April 17.
The conditional species may not be removed from the WMAs alive.
The Commission also approved further security
measures for commercial reptile dealers in how they transport
snakes and lizards in Florida. New rules also require that the
nonnative conditional species be held indoors or outdoors only with
a fixed, secure roof over the enclosure. All of these animals also
must be micro-chipped, unless they will be exported out of Florida
within 180 days.
For more information about Burmese pythons, go to