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Unintended Visitors to Your Home Habitat

Illustration of a raccoon

If you’re lucky and you’ve created a balanced backyard habitat, a web of living creatures is sharing your property and providing rewarding wildlife viewing experiences.


You’ve probably noticed that you can’t always pick-and-choose which animals may move through your yard. If you’ve done a good job of creating habitat, the songbirds, rabbits, squirrels and frogs that you expected to attract may get noticed by predators you didn’t anticipate. The presence of these predators represents a healthy habitat and demonstrates a functioning food web.

The presence of these animals represents a healthy habitat and demonstrates a functioning food web.

In certain parts of Florida you may see the occasional Florida black bear or even the elusive Florida panther. Rare visits are not necessarily a problem, but you should work to outsmart or exclude these visitors when you start seeing them regularly. This also applies to smaller mammals such as raccoons, which can be destructive nuisances, eager to exploit food sources such as garbage, pet food, bird seed or even livestock feed. Similarly, black bears, though wary of people, are driven by their need to eat, so anything that is accessible and can be eaten is a potential bear attractant.


Remember that birds don’t need supplemental feeding; native plants attract the greatest variety of birds and other wildlife.


Find more information at Living with Wildlife.