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FWC: Time is running out to have your pet tegus or green iguana microchipped

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A green iguana being microchipped at one of FWC’s Tag Your Reptile Day events.

Florida — New rules require owners of pet tegus and green iguanas to apply for a no-cost permit and mark their pets with a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag, also known as a microchip. Working with a variety of partners, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has helped pet owners by tagging nearly 150 tegus and green iguanas for free.

The new rules took effect on April 29, but a 90-day grace period has provided pet owners an opportunity to come into compliance and take advantage of Tag Your Reptile Day events that the FWC is holding throughout the state. These events offer pet owners an opportunity to have their pet green iguanas or tegus microchipped for free. Staff is also present to help address questions about the permit application process.

The FWC will hold two more Tag Your Reptile Day events, both taking place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

  • June 26 at South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, 4800 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach
  • July 11 at the Lee County Domestic Animal Services, 5600 Banner Dr, Fort Myers

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.

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The new rules also include reporting requirements for permittees, biosecurity requirements to limit the escape of these high-risk invasive species, and additional language to clarify limited exceptions for possession of green iguanas and tegus for commercial sales or as pets.

The 90-day grace period ends July 28, 2021, and by that time all pet green iguanas and tegus must be permanently microchipped and owners must have applied for a no-cost permit. All other entities must come into compliance with the new rules by July 28 as well, including entities possessing the regulated species for research, educational exhibition, eradication/control, or commercial sale purposes. Additionally, entities with these species will have 180 days to come into compliance with the new outdoor caging requirements. The 180-day grace period for upgrading outdoor caging ends October 26, 2021.

More than 500 nonnative species have been reported in Florida. Approximately 80% of these species have been introduced via the live animal trade with more than 130 established in Florida, meaning they are reproducing in the wild. Since most nonnative invasive fish and wildlife find their way into Florida’s habitats through escape or release from the live animal trade, it is important to create regulations to prevent high-risk nonnative invasive wildlife from becoming introduced or further established in Florida’s environment.

For detailed information on how these new rules will impact pet owners, commercial sellers, exhibitors, trappers, and other groups, or to learn more about upcoming Tag Your Reptile Day events, visit MyFWC.com/ReptileRule.

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