It's a popular myth that the animal that is a nuisance on
your property can simply be "relocated." It sounds easy enough and one
would think that it might be the best for property owner and nuisance
animal. However, it's rare that relocated animals have a good chance of
survival, and moving them may even affect the survival of animals in their
- Relocation can be stressful to wild animals. They may experience elevated
heart rates and breathing rates, high blood pressure, acute changes
in blood chemistry and depressed appetites. These factors in turn may
make them more vulnerable to disease or predation.
- Relocated animals have no prior experience with their new homes which
immediately puts them at a disadvantage in finding food and shelter.
Most animals that cause problems are common and widespread, such as
fox, opossum, and raccoon. That means that almost all areas that could
be places to relocate nuisance animals already have established populations
of those animals.
- Animals released in a new territory lack the local knowledge to fit
in with existing animal hierarchies. They risk fights with resident
animals and exclusion from feeding areas and den sites.
- Releasing animals may help spread disease. Just as we humans spread
disease among our populations by traveling, animals can bring diseases
into new areas when they are relocated, thus impacting the resident
- A relocation site may not have all the basic needs for the animal
to site. Although the site may look suitable to us, it may lack proper
food or shelter.
- The combination of the previous factors often caused animals to leave
the release area. The animal may aimlessly wander for miles, and is
accountable for high mortality in released animals.
In summary, relocation sounds appealing, but it is tough on the transported
animals and can have negative impacts on the animal populations where
they are released. Our goal is to co-exist with Florida's wild animals
and we owe it to them to seek low stress and hopefully non-lethal solution
to nuisance animal problems. Usually, that means modifying our own behavior.
Keep in mind that relocating animals to public land is against Florida
law. A nuisance animal trapper licensed by the Fish
and Wildlife Conservation Commission may relocate animals to private
lands when he or she has the permission of the landowner.