Calling all exotic pet owners: bring your Russian tortoises, African birds, and boa constrictors to Zoo Miami for Exotic Pet Amnesty Day.
The zoo, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), took in the exotic pets, at no cost or penalty to the owners.
"Most of these animals were acquired as babies, and people don't do the research," said Ron Magill, media director zoo miami. "They don't realize how long they live, how much they eat, how much they'll cost to take care of."
One-day amnesty events like this were held throughout the state in an effort to raise awareness of nonnative species problems. More than 400 nonnative species have been observed in Florida, and more than 130 have reproducing populations.
"We've been good to her, she has her own space in the yard, she gets fed real well, and the neighborhood kids play with her; but she got out a few times already, she climbs fences so we can't keep her in anymore," said Tania Llarena.
The one-day amnesty events are also held to give up the exotic animals to experienced, qualified adopters. Just last year, the one-day event brought in almost a hundred animals.
"They will certainly go to a good home -- somebody who's been pre-screened and will take care of the animals," said Jorge Pino, Public Information Officer for the FWC.
Releasing non-native pets like pythons into the wild is a second degree misdemeanor.