Wildlife requiring a permit in Florida

Eastern Diamondback Snake, FWC photo

If you’re considering getting a wild animal for a pet, one of the first things you should do is find out if it is legal to have the animal in Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regulates fish and wildlife in Florida and also issues permits and licenses for wild animals.  Florida requires permits for the possession, exhibition or sale of wildlife. RELATED: Photos of Florida Snakes

Wildlife requiring a permit, according to the FWC website-

Venomous Reptiles

Native Venomous Reptiles include:

1.   Coral snake (Micrurus fulvius)
2.   Eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)
3.   Canebrake rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus atricaudatus)
4.   Pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius)
5.   Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)
6.   Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)

All other species of venomous reptiles are considered to be nonnative.  A license is required to capture, keep, possess or exhibit any poisonous or venomous reptiles.

Class I Wildlife

Class I wildlife are those that pose a significant danger to people.  Substantial experience and specific cage requirements must be met. Permits are required for public exhibition or sale of Class I wildlife. Anyone who possesses Class I wildlife must guarantee financial responsibility (see 68A-6.0024, FAC). Class I wildlife is prohibited from personal possession unless the animal was possessed on or before August 1, 1980; or on or before August 27, 2009 for cougars, panthers or cheetahs.

  • Baboons (genus Papaio)
  • Bears (family Ursidae)
  • Black caimans (Melanosuchus niger)
  • Cape buffalos (Syncerus caffer caffer)
  • Cheetahs (Acinonyx jabatus)
  • Chimpanzees (genus Pan)
  • Cougars, panthers (Puma concolor)
  • Crocodiles (except dwarf and Congo) (family Crocodylidae)
  • Drills and mandrills (genus Mandrillus)
  • Elephants (family Elephantidae)
  • Gavials (family Gavialidae)
  • Gelada baboons (genus Theropithecus)
  • Gibbons and Siamangs (family Hylobatidae)
  • Gorillas (genus Gorilla)
  • Hippopotamuses (family Hippopotamidae)
  • Hyenas and Aardwolf (family Hyaenidae)
  • Jaguars (Panthera onca)
  • Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis)
  • Leopards (Panthera pardus)
  • Lions (Panthera leo)
  • Orangutans (genus Pongo)
  • Rhinoceros (family Rhinocerotidae)
  • Snow leopards (Panthera uncia)
  • Tigers (Panthera tigris)

Class II Wildlife

Class II wildlife can also pose a danger to people.  Substantial experience and specific cage requirements must be met. Permits are required for public exhibition, sale or personal possession of Class II wildlife. Class II species are:

  • African golden cats (Profelis aurata)
  • African hunting dogs (Lycaon pictus)
  • Alligators, caimans (family Alligatoridae)
  • American badgers (Taxides taxus)
  • Binturongs (Arctictis binturong)
  • Bobcats (Lynx rufus)
  • Caracals (Caracal caracal)
  • Cassowary (Casuarius spp.)
  • Clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa)
  • Douc langurs (genus Pygathrix)
  • Dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus tetraspis)
  • European and Canadian lynx (Lynx lynx)
  • Fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrina)
  • Giraffe and Okapi (family Giraffidae)
  • Guenons (genus Ceropithecus)
  • Guereza monkeys (genus Colobus)
  • Honey badgers (Mellivora capensis)
  • Howler monkeys (genus Alouatta)
  • Idris (genus Indri)
  • Indian dholes (Cuon alpinus)
  • Langurs (genus Presbytis)
  • Macaques and Celebes black apes (genus Macaca)
  • Mangabeys (genus Cercocebus)
  • Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis)
  • Old World badgers (Meles meles)
  • Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
  • Patas monkeys (genus Erythrocebus)
  • Proboscis monkeys (genus Nasalis)
  • Sakis (genus Chiropotes and Pithecea)
  • Servals (Leptailurus serval)
  • Snub-nosed langurs (genus Phinopithecus)
  • Tapir (family Tapiridae)
  • Temminck’s golden cats (Profelis temmincki)
  • Uakaris (genus Cacajao)
  • Vervet, Grivet or Green monkeys (genus Chlorocebus)
  • Wild cattle; forest, woodland and aridland antelope; and similar species of *non-native hoofstock (family Bovidae)
  • Wolverines (Gulo gulo)
  • Wolves, coyotes, jackals (family Canidae)

Class III Wildlife

A permit is required for personal possession, exhibition or sale of Class III wildlife.  Class III wildlife are all species not listed as Class I or Class II; and not among those species that are specifically listed as not requiring a permit for personal possession in rule 68A-6.0022, FAC.

There is no formal list of Class III species.  You must check the lists of Class I, Class II, and species not requiring a permit to determine if an animal in question is a Class III species.  Florida residents 16 years of age and older may apply for permit to possess, exhibit or sell Class III wildlife.

Note: A special permit is needed to import leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis), African spurred tortoises (G. sulcata) or Bell’s hingeback tortoises (Kinixys belliana) from another state pply for some publicly owned or research facilities and traveling exhibits.

Note: Fox, skunks, bats, raccoons, or whitetail deer taken from the wild shall not be possessed as personal use wildlife and shall be possessed only in accordance with permits issued under Rules 68A-9.002, 68A-9.006, F.A.C., or Section 379.3761, F.S.

Note: The Captive WildlifeClass III Exhibition and/or Public Sale license does NOT cover the licensee for removal of conditional species from private or public lands. Please contact our Non-Native Species division at (850)488-3831 for more information on obtaining this authorization.

Game Mammals and Birds

A Game Farm License is required for captive rearing of native or nonnative game birds and game mammals.  This license does not authorize the taking of or keeping of any game removed from the wild. A Hunting Preserve License is required for release of captive reared native and non-native game animals for hunting purposes.

Game birds include:  wild turkey, quail, rails, snipe, woodcock, ducks, geese, brant, dove, coot, gallinule, and nonnative species generally considered game such as pheasant, chukar partridge, and coturnix quail.

Game mammals include:  deer, gray squirrel, rabbits, wild hogs in those areas where specified, and nonnative species generally considered game such as elk, antelope and buffalo.

Note: A license is not required for possession of Bison for commercial farming purposes, possession of 50 or fewer live bob white quail or non-native game birds (except non-native ducks and geese) possessed for personal use, consumption, educational, dog training or other not-for-sale or exhibition purpose, or possession of game bird eggs for consumption.

Conditional Nonnative Wildlife

Conditional nonnative species (formerly referred to as restricted species) are considered to be dangerous to the ecology and/or the health and welfare of the people of Florida.  These species may not be possessed for personal use.  To legally import conditional nonnative species into Florida and possess them for commercial use, research or public exhibition, it is necessary to have a permit.
Possessors of conditional nonnative species for exhibition or public sale should apply for the Class III, exhibition or sale license.







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