FAQs: Nuisance Wildlife
It is important to remember that all of Florida's native species contribute to balanced ecosystems. While an individual animal exhibiting behavior that conflicts with human expectations may be labelled as 'nuisance wildlife,' we must be careful not to apply this term to an entire species.
Frequently Asked Questions: Nuisance Wildlife
Nuisance wildlife, as defined in Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) 68A-9.010, refers to an animal or animals exhibiting behavior that:
- causes (or is about to cause) property damage,
- presents a threat to public safety, or
- causes an annoyance within, under or upon a building.
Nuisance wildlife, as defined in Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) 68A-9.010, may be taken using live traps or snares, or, where allowed, firearms during daylight hours. All traps and snares must be inspected at least once every 24 hours.
Discharge of a firearm may be prohibited in some cities and residential areas; check with local law enforcement.
A permit issued by FWC regional offices is required to use steel traps to take destructive mammals (excluding species prohibited by the FWC). A Gun and Light at Night Permit and a hunting license are required to use a firearm and a light at night to take nuisance beaver, bobcat, fox, opossum, rabbit, raccoon or skunk that are causing destruction of crops and/or livestock. A Gun and Light at Night Permit is not required to take wild hog, coyote, armadillo, black or Norway rat or house mouse.
Any person owning property may take nuisance wildlife that causes (or is about to cause) property damage,presents a threat to public safety, or causes an annoyance within, under or upon a building on their property or they may authorize another person to take nuisance wildlife on their behalf. Persons responsible for government owned property are considered "property owners". Wildlife trappers and property owners are responsible for complying with the many laws that protect wildlife. Before removing wildlife, please seek assistance in understanding these laws and your alternative options for resolving the conflict.
Permits are required under certain circumstances.
You may want to have another individual remove nuisance wildlife for you.
The FWC does not license nuisance wildlife trappers, but does allow them to advertise their services on our web site. Consult the FWC's list of Wildlife Trappers. Most trappers charge a fee for their services. Wildlife trappers and property owners do not need to notify or obtain FWC authorization to take most destructive or nuisance wildlife from private property. Wildlife trappers must obtain consent from the property owner.
- Live-captured nuisance wildlife must be released legally or euthanized humanely within 24 hours of capture or trap inspection.
- Any non-target wildlife should be released immediately at the capture site.
- Unless prohibited by rabies alert or quarantine issued by a County Health Department or County Animal Control, live-captured nuisance wildlife may be transported for the purpose of euthanasia or for legal release.
- Euthanasia guidelines can be found on the Report of the American Veterinary Medical Association Panel on Euthanasia.
- Only native species of wildlife may be released.
- Nonnative wildlife may not be transported or relocated except for the purpose of euthanasia.
Releasing native nuisance wildlife
Native nuisance wildlife may be released on the property of the landowner where captured provided the release site and capture site are located on one contiguous piece of property.
Relocating native nuisance wildlife
Native nuisance wildlife may be released off the capture site if the release site is a minimum of 40 contiguous acres, located in the same county as the capture site, and the person releasing the nuisance wildlife has in their possession written permission from the landowner of the release site allowing release on their property.
Nuisance wildlife may not be released on federal, state, county, local or private lands without written permission of the landowner.
To dispose of carcasses, please keep these precautions in mind and follow these instructions:
- When handling dead birds or other wildlife, work outdoors and try to stay upwind of the carcass.
- When bagging the carcass, keep the open end of the bag away from your face.
- Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling carcasses.
- Do not store carcasses in a cooler, freezer, or refrigerator used for human or animal food, and wash hands thoroughly after handling.
- Wash any clothing that comes into contact with the carcass with normal household detergent at normal temperatures.
Disposal of dead animals: open up two heavy plastic trash bags. Avoid touching the carcass with your bare hands. Pick up the carcass using disposable gloves or plastic bags worn on your hands. Place the carcass in the first heavy plastic trash bag. Keep the open end of the bag pointed away from your face while tying securely. Next remove gloves or plastic bags from your hands by turning them inside out. Dispose of the gloves or plastic bags in the second heavy trash bag and place the first bag (containing the carcass) in the second bag. Tie the second bag securely and place it in the garbage. If there are multiple carcasses to be disposed of, please first speak with your local waste management facility.
Many feed or home improvement stores will sell or rent animal traps.
Muscovy ducks have been introduced into urban and suburban areas in Florida where they often occur in high densities. If the Muscovy ducks are yours or they have no identifiable owner and are on your property, Federal regulations allow control by landowners, wildlife management agencies, and tenants, agents, or employees without federal or state permits. Captured birds may be humanely euthanized, but it is illegal to capture the birds and release them elsewhere.
With landowner permission, wild hogs may be trapped, shot or hunted year-round with no fees, licenses or permits required. Wild hogs may be trapped using live traps (e.g., box traps, cage traps, corral traps). Poisoning wild hogs is prohibited. Trapped animals may only be released on a property with landowner permission. Persons wishing to transport or hold live wild hogs must obtain applicable permits from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.