Becoming a Nonnative Pet Adopter

Becoming an Exotic Pet Amnesty Adopter

The FWC is always looking for experienced exotic pet owners to be adopters in our Exotic Pet Amnesty Program. We require adopters to have knowledge about the proper care for the animals they want to adopt.In order to adopt an animal at an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event you must apply and be approved as an adopter before the event. Approved adopters will receive a letter of acceptance; adopters must bring their letter of acceptance to each Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event that they wish to adopt at.

Does it cost money to be an adopter?

It’s free to be an adopter. However, the cost of supporting a pet for the next 10-20 years should be taken into account before applying.

How do I apply?

Simply fill out and submit an adoption application. There are two parts to the adoption application:

Adopter information formPDF
Animal information formPDF

The animal information form has a drop down list of animal categories; you may choose one category per animal form. Applicants only need to submit the adopter information form once, but can submit more than one animal information form.

Forms can be submitted online (if using Adobe versions 9 or X) or printed and mailed to the address listed on the last page. All forms must be signed by digital signature or by hand. If your application is unsatisfactory, it will be returned to you for improvement. If your application is approved, you will receive a letter of acceptance.

Please be aware that we can’t approve anyone as an adopter at an amnesty event; you must apply prior to the event so we have time to review your application. In most cases, applications must be received by midnight on the Wednesday before an event to allow time for processing and approval for that event.


Can I apply for multiple species categories?

An applicant may complete and submit multiple animal information forms as long as each form is completed specifically for one species category. Each form will be processed and considered independently. All categories the adopter is approved for will be added to their adopter profile and kept on file. Adopters may adopt animals from each species category they are approved to adopt from. Animal information forms can be submitted at any time so categories can be added on once you are established as an adopter.

A list of adoption categories can be found here:  Adoption CategoriesPDF 

Do I need a permit to adopt animals?

If the animal requires a permit for possession you will need to have that permit in place before you can be approved to adopt that animal. Information on these types of animals and the permits required to possess them can be found online in the FWC Captive Wildlife area. You don’t need a permit to adopt animals that do not require a permit for possession, many fish species and some invertebrates like tarantulas and emperor scorpions.  

I have a Class III permit. Do I need to fill out the applications?

If you have a Class III permit, you still need to fill out both the applicant and animal information forms. In addition, if you have a Class III license for exhibition or public sale, you’ll need to sign and notarize our affidavit if you do NOT intend to sell or trade the animals you adopt. The affidavit must be received within 30 days of your approval as an adopter.

The affidavit can be found here: Dealer affidavitPDF 

We waive the animal information forms for those species that require annual inspections: Class I, Class II, conditional and venomous species, but applicants still need to fill out the applicant information form.

Whom can I talk to for more information?

Please call our Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681) for more information.


FWC Facts:
Breeding season for Florida black bears is summer, with the peak occurring from about mid-June through July.

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