The University of Florida’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation held its first Exotic Pet Amnesty Day Tuesday to help pet owners get rid of risky, exotic animals.
Steve Johnson, wildlife ecology associate professor, said the event was designed to allow pet owners to donate their exotic animals without penalty.
“It’s an opportunity for people to bring in exotic animals they no longer want or can no longer care for,” Johnson said.
On Tuesday, five animals were donated: a gopher snake, a red tail boa, a bearded dragon, a turtle and a prairie dog.
Johnson said the event was not advertised to the entire Gainesville community because the department wanted to make sure it could handle the number of animals that came in and that the event was a success.
“I’m happy with it,” Johnson said. ”In addition to the animals that have come in we, I think, are doing a good job of educating students and educating the public about the issues with non-native animals in Florida.”
He said donated animals will be placed with approved, adoptive parents.
Casey Christ wrote this story online.