Only six of Florida's snakes species are venomous, and most of the snakes you will see are harmless. You may get a brochure on Venomous snakes or Non-poisonous snakes .Many people find a snake in the house bothersome. Snakes may be removed from buildings with glue-boards or funnel traps. The Wildlife Resources Handbook has more information. If you have a snake in the yard, it is best managed by modifying the area to make it less appealing to a snake, who may be looking for mice or rodents. You may want to remove or move brush piles, or wood piles away from your yard or house. We have more information.
In many cases, if left unmolested, alligators eventually
will retreat to more preferred habitats away from people. However, if
you encounter an animal that poses a threat to human safety:
One of the first things is to determine what animal is digging holes .
If the animal is a gopher tortoise, it is a species of special concern, and my only be removed with a special permit. The best thing to do is live with it and appreciate it as part of Florida.
One of the best way to discourage wildlife from coming into yards is to use tight fitting trash can lids, and never leave cat or dog food out in dishes; always feed pets and then remove excess food.
If the animal is a raccoon it is typically not digging in your yard, but may be a nuisance by getting in trash, eating your crops, such as corn, or trying to move into your house. If the animal is getting into your trash, more secure trash cans can solve the problem. Raccoons that are causing property damage may be live-trapped without a permit from the Commission, but if the raccoon is to be taken away from your property and released, a permit is required. Relocating wildlife is seldom biologically sound, the animal often does not survive.
If the animal is an opossum they may be attracted to available food, such as garbage, pet food, or cultivated fruits or vegetables. Garbage cans may be secured with rubber straps, and pet food should be taken in for the night.
If the animal is an armadillo, water the area where you want the armadillo to move to. Since they require water, a nearby wet area will entice them away from where they are bothering you. Armadillos may be captured with live traps, but they may not be released on public land. Relocating wildlife is seldom biologically sound, the animal often does not survive.
Pocket gophers and moles may also dig holes just below the surface and destroy a lawn. The damage caused by moles is almost entirely cosmetic. Although moles are often falsely accused of eating the roots of grass and other plants, they actually feed on the insects causing the damage. Nebraska has a guide for controlling moles.
The sandhill crane is usually on the golf course due to the presence of ready food. If you remove the food, such as mole crickets, then the cranes will leave. You may contact a lawn service for treatment of your yard or green. In some cases the sandhill crane may be being fed corn, by a neighbor. Open harassment of the crane is not allowed, since the Florida subspecies is threatened. We have more information.
Florida Black Bear habitat is also good habitat for honey bees. The best way to prevent bear raids on apiaries is to surround the bee yard with a well maintained electric fence. The Wildlife Resource Handbook has detailed plans . The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission will provide technical guidance through their regional offices, and the guide Living with Bears provides more information, as does our Black Bear page.
First you should see if the animal can be controlled before trapping. Often cleaning up debris, maintaining a tight trash lid, or removing food (for example for pets) can control the animal. Relocating wildlife is seldom biologically sound, the animal often does not survive. The Commission maintains a list of licensed trappers by region, that may be hired to trap nuisance animals. In some counties and municipalities, animal control officers are licensed to remove nuisance critters. The Commission, through the regional offices, also issues depredation permits to people who have problems with wildlife destroying agricultural crops. In some cases private individuals can purchase or rent live traps. Care should be taken in handling wild animals, as there may pose a threat due to rabies or other diseases. All fish and wildlife, including their nests, eggs and young, are protected from wanton destruction. And, the poisoning of wildlife is illegal because of its nondiscriminatory method of killing. However, these restrictions don't prohibit individuals from killing certain wildlife (exceptions include but are not limited to deer, bear and those listed as endangered, threatened or species of special concern), on their property in the immediate vicinity of the damage. Nuisance wildlife cannot, however, be killed by gun and light, steel traps, or poison. In addition, there are federal, state and municipal laws regarding control measures against wildlife and transportation of wildlife. Just to be sure, always check with local code enforcement officials and the Commission's regional office to determine legal methods.
If the vulture is not causing any trouble, it need not be bothered. Both Black vultures and Turkey vultures provide a valuable sanitation service by cleaning up dead animals, and are appreciated by many people. If however, the vulture is tearing up a screen porch, or chewing up shingles or roofs, then you may want to consider scaring them with Pyrotechnics. The Wildlife Services group of the United States Department of Agriculture at 352-377-5556 can provide more information.
The most common cause for attacks is that you simply got too close to the birds' territory, nest or young. The most common diving bird is the Northern Mockingbird. Usually the best thing to do is back off from the area during the nesting season. The extension service offers other suggestions. If the bird is injured, it may be taken to a rehabilitator. Birds are protected under the Federal Migratory Treaty Act and may not be trapped or killed. Additionally in Florida least terns or black skimmers , threatened and species of special concern respectively, may be nesting on the roof and displaying aggression toward people in the parking lot of your grocery store or mall. These birds are protected and may not be trapped or killed. Terns and other birds are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act so they may not be trapped or killed on your property. All nongame species have specific regulations which should be reviewed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a pamphlet on Backyard Bird Problems.
If you have an animal moving in to your home, check here for a list of suspects. Sometimes the animal may be excluded by patching a hole when the animal is away, removing brush, or removing sources of food. The animal may be caught in a trap, but relocating wildlife is seldom biologically sound, the animal often does not survive, and a special relocation permit is required to transport native wildlife. In Florida we have the gray fox although the red fox has been introduced and is well established in Florida, particularly west of the Apalachicola river. If the fox is in your yard or area, solutions may include the use of sentry dogs and bright flashing lights or a continuous bright light after dark, when pets and small farm animals should be confined. Other exclusionary methods include the removal of brush from around the ranch or farmstead. If an opossum has moved under your house, they may be live trapped, using sardines or cat food as effective bait. Once the animal is caught however, another problem is created-- what to do with it. In some cases, the soundest biological decision is to humanely destroy the nuisance animal. Skunks may be attracted to lawns with many insects, where food scraps are kept, or where there are brush piles, wood piles, and similar sources of shelter. If you catch a skunk in a trap, be careful to avoiding being sprayed. Slowly approach the trapped skunk and cover the trap with a small tarp or towel.
Excluding bats from roost site is only effective solution. Exclusion is inadvisable between April and August because flightless young bats may be trapped inside and killed. Bats in general, provide a useful function, by eating insects. We have more information available online.
In Florida woodpeckers peck on siding for 3 main reasons:
Our Florida otter is the river otter, and will often find stocked ponds. The best way to control the otter is to exclude the otter from pond with fencing or a cover. This will also prevent other animals such as raccoons, or some birds from finding the goldfish, which are an easy prey item for many species. We have more information.
Squirrels can cause problems by chewing on both edible and inedible things. It is often impossible or impractical to eliminate the source of their chewing. If squirrels are attacking potted plants, you might be able to move them out of reach; if they are gnawing on pipe or tubing, it may be possible to cover it with a material that is soft and, therefore, less attractive to chew. Homeowners frequently attempt to solve squirrel-chewing problems by using some type of repellent. As a rule, repellents are very ineffective in solving this type of problem. Visual repellents such as owl or snake decoys quickly are accepted by squirrels for what they really are and they are then ignored. Mothballs and other odor repellents also are usually ignored by squirrels and rarely change their pattern of behavior. One possible exception is taste repellents. Taste repellents are designed to stop chewing. They seem to work in direct proportion to the animal's desire to chew on the object. In other words, if they want it badly enough, no repellent will stop them. But if the object is not too desirable, it will often work. Taste repellents will not work on large areas, are impractical for inaccessible things like tall trees and cannot be used on objects that you intend to eat. For those situations, you likely will need to live-trap the problem squirrel. We have more squirrel information online.
Generally if you find a baby animal it is best to leave it alone. Often the animal is not orphaned, and the parent may be out bringing food for the animal, or watching the baby. Never pick up baby animals and remove them from their natural environment! Handling of wildlife causes great stress. Leave wildlife alone - never pick up animals and play with them or try to feed them! This is harmful to the animal, and many times dangerous to you! Additional information on orphaned animals is available from the Wildlife Resources Handbook.
Muscovy ducks are a non-native duck, that may be a nuisance by reducing water quality, or dig nesting burrows in shrubbery. The Commission does not come and remove these. The best approach to them is to stop feeding them. Flock size may partially controlled, by removing some eggs from the nest, shaking them vigorously, and then returning them to the nest. Relocating and releasing non-native species like the muscovy is illegal. From the Wildlife Resources Handbook a one page fact sheet , is available, as well as a Guide to domestic ducks in urban areas .