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Exotic Pet Amnesty Day set for May 6 in Sanford

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens are holding an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event on Saturday, May 6, at the zoo. People may surrender their exotic pets at the event without penalty or cost, whether they are being kept legally or illegally. The Exotic Pet Amnesty Program offers an alternative to releasing pets and helps to reduce the number of nonnative species being released into the wild.

This free event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, 3755 NW Highway 17-92 in Sanford. Admission to the zoo is not included and is not required to attend the event. Live animals will be on display and experts will be on-site with information about caring for exotic pets, responsible pet ownership and potential ecological impacts of invasive species in Florida.

Surrendered exotic pets will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and given a health exam by a veterinarian before being made available for adoption that same day to pre-registered, experienced individuals who are capable of caring for them. Animals that will be accepted for surrender include nonnative species of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates. Domestic animals, such as cats, dogs, guinea pigs and rabbits, will not be accepted.

Animals will be made available for adoption after 2 p.m. Exotic pet adopters need to be experienced and must be pre-approved by the FWC. Potential adopters must bring their acceptance letters with them on the day of the event. Becoming an adopter is free, but you are required to register prior to the event to adopt an animal. FWC staff will make every attempt to process applications received after May 3 in time for Saturday’s event. Adopter applications can be found at

Exotic Pet Amnesty events are held around the state throughout the year. For additional information about Exotic Pet Amnesty Day, visit or call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681). Exotic pet owners who cannot attend this event can call this number for assistance in finding a new home for their animal year-round.

For more information about adopting exotic pets, visit and click on “Exotic Pet Amnesty Program.”

For more information about the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, visit

Photo source: FWC