Conditional species (formerly referred to as restricted species) may be imported and possessed for research purposes, commercial use, or public exhibition. They may not be acquired or kept as personal pets, with the exception of red-eared sliders.
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 from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), per Rules 68-5.001 and 68-5.002, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), and Chapter 372.26, Florida Statutes.
Individuals or businesses with a valid Aquaculture Certificate of Registration from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), and authorization to possess conditional (restricted) species, do not need a permit from the FWC to import conditional species; however, aquaculturists that engage in direct retail sales of conditional species in addition to their fish farming business do need an FWC permit to import or possess conditional species.
Conditional species may be sold or transferred only to people who hold a permit to import or possess that particular species, or to people who hold a valid Aquaculture Certificate with conditional species authorization. All imported conditional species must be maintained in accordance to the provisions provided in 68-5.001 and 68-5.002, F.A.C., or in compliance with DACS Best Management Practices.
Conditional aquatic and mammal species: A Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative species permit is required to import and possess conditional aquatic and mammal species for public sales, exhibition, or research purposes. Additionally, if these species are to be sold or exhibited, a Class III license for Public Sale or Exhibition is required unless the facility is an exempt, publicly owned institution.
Conditional reptile species: Authorization to import and possess conditional reptile species for public sale or exhibition is included on the Class III license for Public Sale or Exhibition. Authorization to import and possess conditional reptile species for research is included on the Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative species permit.
Red-eared sliders: As of August 2010, individuals may apply for a Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative species permit to personally acquire unwanted pet red-eared sliders and give these animals a permanent home. Qualified individuals must have adequate indoor tanks or outdoor enclosures that are fully enclosed by a barrier secured at least 6 inches below ground and that will prevent escape of turtles by digging, climbing or crawling through gaps. Any red-eared slider eggs must be destroyed on a daily basis.
Triploid grass carp: Triploid grass carp used for aquatic weed control is not included under the Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative species permit. Permits for using triploid grass carp for weed control must be applied for online. Diploid grass carp that are to be imported for commercial sale and export out of the state require a conditional species permit.
Hunting Pythons in Florida: Licensed hunters can remove pythons and other conditional reptiles (snakes and lizards) from Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA, Rotenberger WMA, Holey Land WMA and Big Cypress WMA during any established hunting season on these areas. Hunters must have a valid hunting license and WMA permit, and follow the regulations for each of these areas.
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Prohibited species may be imported and possessed for research, following approval of the research plan that must include detailed security measures to prevent escape, and for public exhibition by applicants that meet strict biosecurity measures. They may not be acquired or kept as pets.
To legally import prohibited species into Florida for research or public exhibition, it is necessary to have a Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative species permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), per Rule 68-5.001 and 68-5.003, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.); and Chapter 372.26, Florida Statutes.
No exceptions are made for piranha or pirambeba; these species may not be possessed by anyone at anytime.
All conditional and prohibited species must be maintained in accordance to the provisions provided in 68-5.001, 68-5.002, and 68-5.003, F.A.C.
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Removing nonnative species from the wild
A Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative species permit is required to collect and remove all nonnative species including conditional or prohibited species from FWC managed lands (e.g., Wildlife Management Areas, Wildlife and Environmental Areas) for the purposes of commercial sales, public exhibition, or research. Additionally, if nonnative species are to be collected for commercial sale, a commercial fishing license or a Class III license for Public Sale or Exhibition is required. A Class III license for Public Sale or Exhibition is required if nonnative species are collected for the purpose of exhibition.
All FWC managed areas where specimens are to be removed must be listed on the application. Use of gear types (nets, spears, etc.) must also be listed on the permit application.
Permits will not be issued for removal of species on properties not managed by the FWC. Permission to do so must be obtained directly from the landowner. Conditional or prohibited species removed from properties not managed by FWC cannot be transported alive without a Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative species permit.
Leopard tortoises, African spurred tortoises or Bell's hingeback tortoises
A permit is needed to import these three tortoise species into the state. A health certificate must be obtained from a licensed veterinarian certifying that each tortoise has no external parasites. A health certificate, written notice of the shipment, and the permit application must be submitted to the FWC no less than 10 days prior to the arrival of any tortoise.
All containers used to transport tortoises must be disinfected prior to importation and must be incinerated within 24 hours of arrival in the state or exported out of Florida within 72 hours.
Captive Wildlife Permits
Importation, Temporary Possession of Class I, II, III Permits to import or transport wildlife that are not listed as conditional or prohibited species are available online for the following purposes: traveling to Florida with pets, zoo to zoo transfers, dealer to dealer transfers, and out of state dealer to instate buyer transfers. Additional information about who needs a captive wildlife permit is also available online.
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