The Phoenix Flyer

No, you can’t own a pet meerkat, state says

By: - February 22, 2019 3:00 pm

Photo by Michael Barron, National Park Service, Everglades National Park

State wildlife officials, already battling invasive exotic pests like Burmese pythons and iguanas that run rampant in South Florida, just put out a list of animals people are now banned from owning because the critters pose a high risk of getting loose and invading Florida wildlands.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is prohibiting anyone in Florida from owning meerkats/mongooses from Africa, raccoon and dohl dogs from Asia, brushtail possums from Australia, and flying foxes – a type of bat that hails from Asia, Australia, East Africa, and Indian and Pacific Ocean islands.

Four bird species are also now banned from the Sunshine State: the red-whiskered bul-bul, the dioch, the Java sparrow, and the pink starling.

As for reptiles, which have proven to be one of the worst invasive creatures in Florida history, the state is now banning people from owning brown tree snakes, yellow anacondas, Beni anacondas, and Deschauensee’s anaconda.

Florida’s invasive species problem gets worse every year. Want proof? Check out how this 13-foot Burmese python in Florida ate an alligator and both died.

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Julie Hauserman
Julie Hauserman

Julie Hauserman has been writing about Florida for more than 30 years. She is a former Capitol bureau reporter for the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times, and reported for The Stuart News and the Tallahassee Democrat. She was a national commentator for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday and The Splendid Table . She has won many awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work is featured in several Florida anthologies, including The Wild Heart of Florida , The Book of the Everglades , and Between Two Rivers . Her new book is Drawn to The Deep, a University Press of Florida biography of Florida cave diver and National Geographic explorer Wes Skiles.