The Calusa Herpetological Society
Of Southwest Florida
Florida Herp Laws
Releasing of Non-native Reptiles and Amphibians
Regulation of foreign animals.
1) It is unlawful to import for sale or use, or to release within this state, any species of the animal kingdom not indigenous to Florida without having obtained a permit to do so from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
2) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is authorized to issue or deny such a permit upon the completion of studies of the species made by it to determine any detrimental effect the species might have on the ecology of the state.
3) Persons in violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s.
775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.—s. 1, ch. 70-145; s. 308, ch. 71-136; s. 2, ch. 71-294; s. 2, ch. 80-129; s. 131, ch.99-245.
Endangered and Threatened Species: No person shall kill or attempt to kill any endangered species. No person shall capture, molest, possess, sell or offer for sale any endangered or threatened species except by special permit from the FWC executive director.
Species of Special Concern: No person shall take, capture, molest, possess, sell or offer for sale any species of special concern except by specific FWC regulations or by special permit from the FWC executive director. Current lists of endangered, threatened and species of special concern may be obtained from any FWC office.
Frogs: May be taken day or night throughout the year by hand, gig, club, blowgun and hook and line, or during daylight hours only, by shooting. No license is required to take frogs for noncommercial purposes. A Commercial Fishing License is required to take frogs for commercial purposes. Frog species classified as threatened or endangered may not be taken or possessed.
No Written Regulations except for Protected Species (Ambystoma cingulatum, etc.)
Alligator Harvest Permit
To apply for an alligator harvest permit to participate in the public waters alligator harvest program, the following guidelines apply:
All applicants must be at least 18 years of age by September 1 of the application year.
Only current year applications will be accepted. Applications must be submitted with fee payment for an alligator trapping license ($250 resident, $1,000 non-resident) or evidence of possession of an alligator trapping license valid through October 8, plus $20 for two CITES tags (a total of $270 for residents and $1,020 for non-residents).
Only fully completed application packages received at the address on the alligator harvest permit application after 8:00 a.m., May 1 of each year shall be accepted. Multiple applications received in one envelope shall not be accepted.
Applicants can submit only one completed harvest permit application.
Applicants must not have been convicted of any violation relating to the illegal taking of any crocodilian for a period of 5 or 10 years preceding the date of application, depending on the nature of the violation.
Applications will be available in mid-April from any of the FWC regional offices and the Tallahassee office. Applications will be mailed directly to those applicants who submitted an alligator harvest application the previous year. Last year’s applicants should refrain from calling regional offices to request alligator harvest applications unless their address has changed or they have not received a new application by the third week in April. Applications can also be accessed online at http://wildflorida.org/gators.
Application packages meeting the requirements above, and received each day beginning May 1, shall be randomly selected on a daily basis for permit issuance until all available permits are issued. A harvest permit shall be issued to each selected applicant for his/her highest ranked, available harvest unit and harvest period choices. Should a harvest permit not be available for any of the applicant’s choices of harvest units and harvest periods, the applicant’s fees shall be returned (i.e., fees will not be deposited). More than 1,500 permits will be available for issuance.
Each selected applicant may purchase $50 alligator trapping-agent licenses for individuals to assist them in taking alligators. Trapping agents must be in the presence of the permitted applicant when hunting.
Three-hour training and orientation programs will be held throughout the state in July and August. Permit recipients are not required to attend, but are strongly encouraged to do so if they have not attended in the past.
No Written Regulations except for Protected Species (Eumeces egregius lividus, etc.)
No person shall buy, sell, or possess for sale any Florida pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus mugutis), nor shall any person possess more than one Florida pine snake, except the said restrictions shall not apply to amelanistic (=albino) specimens.
No other written regulations except for Protected Species (Drymarchon corais couperi, etc.)
Turtles and Tortoises
Captive Wildlife Regulations
372.86 Possessing, exhibiting poisonous or venomous reptile; license required.—
No person, firm, or corporation shall keep, possess, or exhibit any poisonous or venomous reptile without first having obtained a special permit or license therefore from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as herein provided.
History.—s. 1, ch. 28263, 1953; s. 165, ch. 99- 245.
License fee; renewal, revocation.
—The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is hereby authorized and empowered to issue a license or permit for the keeping, possessing, or exhibiting of poisonous or venomous reptiles, upon payment of an annual fee of $100 and upon assurance that all of the provisions of ss. 372.86-372.91 and such other reasonable rules and regulations as said commission may prescribe will be fully complied with in all respects. Such permit may be revoked by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission upon violation of any of the provisions of ss. 372.86-372.91 or upon violation of any of the rules and regulations prescribed by said commission relating to the keeping, possessing, and exhibiting of any poisonous and venomous reptiles. Such permits or licenses shall be for an annual period to be prescribed by the said commission and shall be renewable from year to year upon the payment of said $100 fee and shall be subject to the same conditions, limitations, and restrictions as herein set forth.
History.—s. 2, ch. 28263, 1953; s. 166, ch. 99- 245.
No person, party, firm, or corporation shall exhibit to the public either with or without charge, or admission fee any poisonous or venomous reptile without having first posted a good and sufficient bond in writing in the penal sum of $1,000 payable to the Governor of the state, and the Governor's successors in office, conditioned that such exhibitor will indemnify and save harmless all persons from injury or damage from such poisonous or venomous reptiles so exhibited and shall fully comply with all laws of the state and all rules and regulations of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission governing the keeping, possessing, or exhibiting of poisonous or venomous reptiles; provided, however, that the aggregate liability of the surety for all such injuries or damages shall, in no event, exceed the penal sum of said bond. The surety for said bond must be a surety company authorized to do business under the laws of the state or in lieu of such a surety, cash in the sum of $1,000 may be posted with the said commission to ensure compliance with the conditions of said bond.
History.—s. 3, ch. 28263, 1953; s. 588, ch. 95- 148; s. 167, ch. 99-245.
All persons, firms, or corporations licensed under this law to keep, possess, or exhibit poisonous or venomous reptiles shall provide safe, secure, and proper housing for said reptiles in cases, cages, pits, or enclosures. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation, whether licensed hereunder or not, to keep, possess, or exhibit any poisonous or venomous reptiles in any manner not approved as safe, secure, and proper by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
History.—s. 4, ch. 28263, 1953; s. 1, ch. 57- 415; s. 168, ch. 99-245
Poisonous or venomous reptiles may be transported only in the following fashion: The reptile, or reptiles shall be placed in a stout closely woven cloth sack, tied or otherwise secured. This sack shall then be placed in a box. The box shall be of strong material in solid sheets, except for small air holes, which holes shall be screened. Boxes containing poisonous or venomous snakes or other reptiles shall be prominently labeled “Danger—Poisonous Snakes” or “Danger—Poisonous Reptiles.”
History.—s. 5, ch. 28263, 1953; s. 1, ch. 57- 41
Poisonous or venomous reptiles, held in captivity, shall be subject to inspection by an inspecting officer from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The inspecting officer shall determine whether the said reptiles are securely, properly, and safely
penned. In the event that the reptiles are not safely penned, the inspecting officer shall report the situation in writing to the person or firm owning the said reptiles. Failure of the owner or exhibitor to correct the situation within 30 days after such written notice shall be grounds for revocation of the license or permit of said owner or exhibitor.
History.—s. 2, ch. 57-415; s. 169, ch. 99-245.
Who may open cages, pits, or other containers housing poisonous or venomous
No person except the licensee or her or his authorized employee shall open any cage, pit, or other container which contains poisonous or venomous reptiles.
History.—s. 7, ch. 28263, 1953; s. 589, ch. 95- 148.
Taking, Possession and Sale of Reptiles
General Provisions for Taking, Possession and Sale of Reptiles.
(1) No person shall buy, sell, take, possess, transport, or import any American alligator, or any part thereof, or the nests or eggs of any American alligator except under permit from the executive director, as otherwise provided by this Title, or as follows:
(a) Lawfully acquired, unskinned alligator carcasses with CITES tags legally affixed; skinned alligator carcasses with the CITES tag number and, if applicable, harvest tag number recorded on an attached tag; untanned hides with CITES tags legally affixed; and alligator feet, viscera, and skeletal parts may be bought, sold, possessed, transported, and imported without a permit provided that untanned alligator hides may only be bought by persons licensed pursuant to s. 372.66, F.S., and that records of transfers of alligator feet, viscera, and skeletal parts shall be maintained as specified in Rule 68A-25.052, F.A.C.
(b) Persons permitted pursuant to s. 372.921, F.S., and their employees may transport live, lawfully-possessed, untagged alligators to Florida locations for exhibition purposes and persons permitted pursuant to s. 372.921, F.S., may sell, and they and their employees may transport, such alligators to:
1. other persons permitted pursuant to s. 372.921, F.S.;
2. to persons permitted to receive such alligators; or
3. to persons out of state, provided that all transports/transfers conducted pursuant to 68A-25.002(b)1., 2. and 3., F.A.C., shall be documented on a Captive Alligator and Egg Transportation/Transfer Document (FWC Form 1006AF).
4. All originating exhibitor/seller(s) acting pursuant to this paragraph shall complete and sign the Captive Alligator and Egg Transportation/Transfer Document before the transport, obtain the signature of the recipient on the document, if appropriate, and forward the document to the Commission's Division of Law Enforcement, Tallahassee office, within 30 days following the date of transport. A copy of the completed document must accompany the alligators during transport.
(2) Notwithstanding other provisions in this Title, untagged, lawfully-acquired, cured, and mounted crocodilian trophies; untagged, tanned crocodilian hides; and manufactured goods wholly or partly composed of crocodilian hide or other parts may be possessed, transported, and imported without a permit, but may only be sold in accordance with the following:
(a) Documentary evidence of the source of acquisition of such crocodilian products held for sale shall be maintained until the products are sold. Such products held for sale and documentary evidence of the source of acquisition shall be subject to inspection
by Commission personnel during reasonable hours.
(b) No person shall sell such crocodilian products manufactured from a species declared to be endangered or threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Commission.
(c) No person shall sell any crocodilian product manufactured in the form of a stuffed baby crocodilian less than three feet in length as measured from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail.
(3) Any alligator, crocodile, caiman or similar reptile, or any part thereof, seized or otherwise acquired by the Commission may be sold.
(4) The records of individuals or concerns selling any species of crocodilian will be subject to inspection and such individuals or concerns shall have in their possession invoices or other documentary evidence of the suppliers of such crocodilians. The advertisement or representation of any crocodilian other than American alligator, and meat and parts thereof, as alligator or "gator" and of caimans, and meat and parts thereof, as crocodile is prohibited.
(5) No person shall use, be in possession of or attend any hook, peg or other such device baited in such a manner as to be capable of taking alligators and suspended so that the bait is above water or submerged less than six inches except nuisance-alligator trappers taking nuisance alligators pursuant to Rule 68A-25.003, F.A.C., and except as otherwise provided in Rules 68A-25.032, and 68A-25.042, F.A.C.
(6) Freshwater turtles may be taken as prescribed in Rules 68A-23.012 and 68A-23.003, F.A.C., and manually or by baited hooks, bow, dip nets, traps so designed that any freshwater fish taken therein may escape, or by spearing only during daylight hours. The taking of turtles by bucket traps, snares, or shooting with firearms is prohibited. No person shall buy, sell, or possess for sale any alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temmincki), box turtle (Terrapene carolina), Barbour's map turtle (Graptemys barbouri), Escambia River map turtle (Graptemys ernsti), diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin), river cooter (Pseudemys concinna), or loggerhead musk turtle (Sternotherus minor), or parts thereof. No person shall possess more than two Barbour's map turtles, two Escambia River map turtles, two diamondback terrapins, two river cooters, two box turtles, two loggerhead musk turtles, or one alligator snapping turtle unless authorized by permit from the executive director as provided in Rules 68A-5.004, 68A-9.002, and 68A-27.002, F.A.C. River cooters may not be taken from 15 April to 31 July.
(7) No softshell turtles (Apalone spp.) or their eggs may be taken from the wild during the period 1 May to 31 July.
(8) No person shall possess more than 50 eggs taken from the wild in the aggregate of species of freshwater turtle native to Florida except as authorized by permit from the Executive Director as provided in Rules 68A-5.004, 68A-9.002, and 68A-27.002,
F.A.C. Eggs of those turtle species enumerated in 68A-25.002(6), F.A.C., are subject to the same possession limits as apply for those turtles. The purchase or sale of turtle eggs taken from the wild is prohibited.
(9) No person shall buy, sell, take or possess any gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), or any part thereof, unless authorized by permit from the executive director as provided in Rules 68A-5.004, 68A-9.002, and 68A-27.002, F.A.C.
(10) Possession of gopher tortoises may be authorized by permit from the executive director when the owner can demonstrate that such tortoise(s) was (were) legally acquired and possessed before July 1, 1988.
(11) No person shall possess any turtle or tortoise on which paint has been applied to its shell or body parts, provided that water-soluble, non-toxic identifying marking may be used in turtle racing contests.
(12) No person shall buy, sell or possess for sale any Florida pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus), nor shall any person possess more than one Florida pine snake, except that said restrictions shall not apply to amelanistic (= "albino") specimens.
(13) Reptiles may be taken throughout the year in any manner not conflicting with other provisions of these rules.
(14) On or after July 1, 1990 any person or entity not currently permitted to possess or exhibit venomous reptiles must qualify for a permit by meeting the following criteria:
(a) Submit documentation in accordance with the criteria specified in Rule 68A-6.0022(5)(c), F.A.C., showing a minimum of one (1) year substantial practical experience in the care, feeding, handling and husbandry of the family of venomous reptiles for
which the permit is sought.
(b) Shall not have been convicted of a violation of venomous reptile regulations for three (3) years prior to application for such permit.
(c) Must be at least 18 years old at the time of application.
(15) No leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) or African spurred tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) shall be imported or transported into this state, without a special permit issued by the Commission. The basis for the issuance of such permit shall include:
(a) That each shipment is accompanied by a veterinary certificate stating that all specimens are free from external parasites;
(b) That all shipping containers used to transport such tortoises are incinerated within 24 hours;
(c) Such other conditions as may be necessary to insure that no tortoise infested with ticks capable of transmitting the Heartwater disease is imported into Florida.
Specific Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const., 372.6672, 372.6673, 372.86, 372.921, 372.922 FS. HistoryBNew 8-1-79, Amended 6-4-81, 6-21-82, 7-1-83, 7-1-84, 7-1-85, Formerly 39-25.02, Amended 6-1-86, 5-10-87, 10-8-87, 4-13-88, 2-14-89, 7-1-89, 7-1-90, 4-14-92, 4-1-96, 9-15-96, 4-12-98, 7-1-99, Formerly 39-25.002, Amended 3-30-00, 4-30-00.
Possession, Exhibition and Caging Venomous Reptiles: Prohibited Species.
(1) Any person who keeps, possesses or exhibits poisonous or venomous reptiles shall comply with ss. 372.86, 372.87, 372.88, 372.89, 372.90 and 372.91, F.S.
(2) Venomous reptiles shall be kept enclosed in cages, cases, pits or enclosures of the following specifications:
(a) Cage may be constructed of a variety of materials including: plate glass of at least one-quarter inch thickness, break-resistant plastic of similar strength, concrete reinforced with wire, sheet metal, molded fiberglass, plywood or interlocking lumber that has been treated to be impervious to moisture and is not less than one-half inch in thickness, or other materials which provide equivalent stability and security against escape and unauthorized intrusion. Cages and doors to cages shall be sealed. The doors of each cage shall be securely locked to prevent unauthorized intrusion.
(b) A room may contain poisonous reptiles in cages that are not locked provided that such a room is locked to prevent unauthorized intrusion, is inaccessible to unauthorized personnel, is constructed and maintained as to be escape-proof, and, for commercial facilities, has been inspected and approved as conforming to these rules by Commission personnel prior to use.
(c) Outdoor open-topped enclosures:
1. For venomous reptiles native to the United States, the floors of outdoor cages shall be of concrete or masonry construction at least two inches in thickness. Sides shall be of similar construction, at least eight inches in thickness, or strength equivalent, with a minimum height of four feet above the floor of the enclosure. Outdoor enclosures need not have concrete or masonry flooring if the enclosure meets the following additional specifications:
a. The enclosure shall have concrete or masonry walls, at least eight inches in thickness, or strength equivalent.
b. The enclosure shall have footers made of concrete, or strength equivalent, extending not less than three feet below the grade level, outside the perimeter.
c. The corners of enclosure shall be designed or guarded to prevent the escape of reptiles by climbing.
d. All landscaping of the enclosure shall be arranged to insure that vegetation or other structures do not allow for the escape of reptiles.
2. Entrance doors shall be kept securely locked on all outdoor enclosures to prevent escape and unauthorized intrusion and the enclosure shall be equipped with barriers to prevent visitors from falling into enclosures that are constructed below ground level.
3. For venomous reptile species not native to the United States, all outdoor enclosures shall be topped with close-meshed wire or an equivalent barrier to provide additional security.
(3) All species of snakes commonly known as sea snakes or sea kraits, belonging to the families Elapidae, Hydrophiidae or Laticaududae are prohibited from being imported or possessed, except under the provisions of 370.081(4), F.S.
Specific Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented 370.081, 372.86, 372.87, 372.88, 372.89, 372.90, 372.91, 372.92 FS. HistoryBNew 8-1-79, Amended 6-21-82, Formerly 39-25.06, Amended 5-10-87, 4-1-96, 9-15-96, Formerly 39-25.006, Amended 11-17-99.
Provision for Harassment of Endangered, Threatened and Species of Special
Concern on Airport Property.
Species of birds and mammals protected in Rules 68A-27.003, 68A-27.004, and 68A-27.005, F.A.C., may be harassed on airport property as specified in Rule 68A-12.009(7), F.A.C., if aircraft safety and human lives are in imminent jeopardy.
Specific Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. HistoryBNew 8-1-79, Amended 6-21-82, 7-1-84, 7-1-85, Formerly 39-27.02, Amended 6-1-86, 5-10-87, 4-13-88, 4-11-90, 6-23-98, 6-23-99, Formerly 39-27.002.
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