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Florida is cracking down on the exotic pet trade

Reports of pythons eating local cats have become more and more common in Florida as exotic pet ownership has gone off the rails. Snakes, iguanas, and other reptiles are posing a serious ecological threat in the state where many people adopt exotic pets only to realize how difficult they are to care for and end up releasing them into the wild. 

In an effort to get a handle on the situation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is cracking down and banning the breeding and sale of exotic pets including Burmese and scrub pythons, Green anacondas, Nile monitors, green iguanas, and tegus. The new rules are expected to go into effect later this summer and also include stricter provisions on required enclosures for these pets. 

Those who already own exotic pets in the state will be allowed to keep them for the remainder of the pet’s life, but the introduction of an additional reptile tagging initiative hopes to keep better track of these animals. 

The newly established Tag Your Reptile Days will run from late May to late June and serve as opportunities for exotic pet owners to have their reptiles registered and microchipped for free at certain local zoos and animal clinics. 

Exotic reptiles are not just a nuisance for local residents and businesses, they’re also eating away at native species and spreading disease. These new policies will hopefully help restore ecological balance in the state and provide some peace of mind in communities that are not equipped to have pythons roaming their sidewalks. 

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