New rules designed to protect Florida from high-risk, nonnative reptiles came into effect April 29. The rule changes to Chapter 68-5, F.A.C. specifically address 16 high-risk invasive reptiles, including pythons, tegus and green iguanas, that pose a threat to Florida’s ecology, economy and human health and safety. 

As part of the new rules, pet owners have 90 days from the effective date to apply for a no-cost permit and mark their pets with a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag, also known as a microchip. The 90-day grace period ends July 28. A 180-day grace period to upgrade any outdoor caging for Prohibited species ends Oct. 26.

More than 500 nonnative species have been reported in Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Approximately 80% of these species were introduced via the live animal trade, with more than 130 established in Florida and reproducing in the wild. 

More details on the new rules can be found at MyFWC.com/ReptileRule.

Additional information about nonnative species in Florida can be found at MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.

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