The UF College Of Veterinary Medicine will hold an event on June 12 where individuals can get their reptiles tagged or microchipped for free.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is partnering with zoos and veterinarians to hold tagging events at multiple locations across the state after a new rule prohibiting the importation, breeding and possession of 16 different non-native reptiles.
The main two species affected by this new rule are green iguanas and tegus.
Owners can bring up to five tegus or green iguanas to any of the single-day events, but pets must be secured in carriers, and wear a leash or harness to prevent escape, FWC said in an announcement on Tuesday. Veterinary staff will assist in microchipping the reptiles with a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag. It is an 8.4-mm long microchip, inserted under the skin.
When scanned, the PIT tag gives proper identification of the pet and owner.
“Tagging or microchipping your pet is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep them safe and also protect Florida’s native wildlife,” according to the FWC.
The ban is not immediate, and owners have until July 28 to obtain a free tag. Individuals who have not tagged their prohibited species are in direct violation of the FWC rule and could be asked to appear before county court.
Individuals found guilty of a level-one violation may pay a civil penalty of $50, but second-level violators pay around $250, according to Florida statues.
To obtain a free PIT tagging service, residents can attend one of the ‘Tag Your Reptile Day’ events offered across Florida.