The Central Florida Zoo wants your exotic pets


The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens wants your exotic pets, whether you own them legally or not.

The zoo's "Pet Amnesty Day" allows Central Florida residents to surrender their legal or illegal exotic pets without cost or penalty on June 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the entrance. The free event helps reduce the number of non-native species released by owners into Florida habitats, according to a press release.

Non-native species of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates will be accepted. Domestic animals like dogs and cats will not be accepted.

Some of the exotic pets surrendered will be available for adoption that day to pre-registered individuals with no adoption fees. Those who would like to adopt an exotic pet must register with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at least one week before the event.

Owners who want to surrender large pond turtles should contact the FWC's Exotic Species Hotline at 1-888-483-4681 because finding new homes for these species can take up to a year.

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