Tips on Living with Wildlife
Never Feed Wildlife
In some cases, feeding wildlife is illegal in Florida. Species with rules related to feeding include bears, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, pelicans, alligators, crocodiles, sandhill cranes, and wild monkeys. Feeding wildlife can reduce their fear of humans which can result in aggression and the need for the animal to be removed or killed in order to protect public safety.
Secure Your Home, Property, and Animals
Wildlife will return to unsecured food sources even after just one visit and can easily become habituated to humans. Prevent unwanted interactions and protect wildlife by securing attractants.
- Modify your trash can to make it more difficult for wildlife to access. Another option to secure trash is to construct a wildlife-resistant garbage can caddy.
- Use commercially-manufactured bear-resistant trash cans. If your garbage is secured from bears, it is secured from all of Florida's wildlife.
- Consider a bear-resistant dumpster, particularly in regions with high bear activity.
- Use shelled seed and avoid red millet, as birds will typically toss this type of see to the ground where it can accumulate and attract wildlife.
- Clean up spillage which can attract rodents that, in turn, bring larger predators into closer proximity to pets and people.
- Suspend feeders at least 10 feet from the ground and 4 feet away from any attachment points, bring feeders inside at night, or consider a commercially-manufactured bear-resistant feeding station.
- Any plants producing nuts, seeds, and/or berries will attract wildlife. Harvest and remove these foods once ripened.
- Harvest vegetables and edible roots as soon as they ripen. Remove any vegetables that fall on the ground.
- Secure compost piles, and monitor the rations of green to brown materials to prevent odors.
- Electric fencing may be use to help secure these types of attractants.
- Free-ranging cats are at risk not only from depredation by wildlife but also domestic dog attacks or injuries from vehicle strikes. Bring pets inside, especially at night, to help keep them safe. Learn more about ways to keep pets safe in Florida.
- Do not leave pet food unattended outside, feed free-ranging pets in your presence and remove any uneaten food.
- Do not chain or restrict a dog's movements so that it is unable to get away from its food, as this is more likely to cause an aggressive encounter if wildlife approaches.
- A properly maintained electric fence can protect apiaries.
- Secure livestock in small pastures or yards in a sturdy pen or with electric fencing.
- Guard animals such as dogs, donkeys, or llamas may prevent predation. FWC recommends in-depth research before committing to a guard animal, as not all guard animals are equally suited for all situations and environments.
- Store excess animal feed and feeding containers in a sturdy shed, garage, or bear-resistant container. Do not leave animal feed or containers out overnight.
- Keep exterior doors closed and locked when not in use.
- Do not store food in screened enclosures.
- Do not leave outdoor grills unattended when in use and clean thoroughly afterward. If possible, store grills in a sturdy shed or garage.
- Never leave scented items inside your vehicle- this includes both food and non-food items such as lip balm, coolers, and air fresheners.
- Cover possible entryways with hardware cloth to prevent squirrels, bats and other wildlife from entering your home.