Florida is home to an amazing array of wildlife many of which are protected by Federal or State laws and regulations. From birds and fish to reptiles, Florida has it all. Florida’s wildlife and human populations are encountering each other more often than ever before. As people develop more open space and wildlife habitat is reduced and fragmented, conditions are often created which force wildlife and human interactions. Such contacts between people and wildlife can result in conflicts if you aren’t careful.
Most conflicts with wildlife can be resolved by making simple changes, such as, removing food attractants. Understanding wildlife behavior and their habits can help you appreciate and coexist with wildlife while reducing negative impacts. Here’s what you need to know about living safely in, “Wild Florida”.
- Be Alert
- Don’t hand-feed wildlife
- Install motion-sensitive outdoor lighting: Keep the house perimeter well-lit at night – especially along walkways – to keep any approaching wildlife visible.
- Do not approach an American alligator- The American alligator is Federally protected by the Endangered Species Act as a Threatened species.
- Reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators by swimming only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours.
- People concerned about an alligator should call the FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (392-4286). SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators 4 feet in length or greater that are believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property.
- The best way to keep snakes out of a house is to seal cracks and openings around doors, windows, water pipes, attics, and foundations.
- To help prevent scavenging from Raccoon, use metal trash cans fastened to a pole or other solid object.
The best way to stay safe is by following the practices above. Remember, in some cases, feeding wildlife is illegal in Florida. In fact, if a citizen witnesses someone else feeding raccoons, bears, foxes, alligators or Sandhill cranes, that person can file a report by calling 1-888-404-FWCC. The call is free and a reward is possible for information leading to an arrest.