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Articles

How to Get Rid of Your Exotic Pet, No Questions Asked

by Oliver Lee / 22 May 2015

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Scenes from an exotic pet amnesty in Florida. (All photos: Oliver Lee)

Hypothetical question: If you acquire a baby Burmese python and realize, too late, that it can grow up to 20 feet in length and can’t be contained by an aquarium, what do you do?

The answer, for Floridians at least, is Exotic Pet Amnesty Day.

This is the first event in Kissimmee, about a half hour’s drive south of Orlando; there are a number of tents set up on a grassy field outside the convention center in Osceola Heritage Park. The main tent, where the owners go to surrender their pets, is roped off with yellow caution tape and populated with veterinarians and volunteers for the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which hosts the event.

“The purpose of the program is to give exotic pet owners an option to surrender their pets,” says Cody Miller, Invasive Species Coordinator for the Nature Conservancy. “Pets that they can’t take care of, or have grown too large, and give them a way to surrender them that is safe and an alternative to dropping them in the wild.”

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