Florida is home to 4,368 known animal species
, with 269 species found only in Florida. With so much wildlife enjoying the sandy white beaches and the clear emerald green waters, tourists and locals can expect an encounter. Hopefully, the encounter will be pleasant and not a nuisance.
Florida defines nuisance
wildlife as those who pose a threat to the public, cause damage to your property, or are an annoyance anywhere on your property. Nuisance wildlife numbers will continue to grow if we continue to develop land for residential and commercial use. If you encounter wildlife on your property, you must know the requirements for removal, which can vary for each animal.
If you own property on the Emerald Coast, you have made a significant investment that must be protected from nuisance wildlife. If you rent your property, your tenants may not understand Florida's regulations on nuisance wildlife. They may not be prepared for the raccoons, squirrels, bats, skunks, opossums, armadillos, snakes, and rodents they may encounter during their visit.
The best way to handle nuisance wildlife is to call an wildlife control company. At Critter Control, we y know the laws and permit requirements and have safe and humane removal methods.
Raccoons on the Emerald Coast
are growing in number. Their permanent masks and banded tails make them easy to identify. You may not see them often but recognize the wreckage they leave behind, like the scattered trash, missing garden crops, and holes in your yard. Raccoons will eat just about anything, including insects, small animals, fish, garden crops, pet food, and people's food. If you have any of these outside your home, you can attract a raccoon.
Raccoons will enter your attic
to create a nest. They will scratch flooring, shred insulation, break shingles, and cover the area in feces and urine. They leave greasy smudges on anything their fur touches and don't mind using parts of your attic as their restroom. Raccoons
also enjoy pooping on the steps of a swimming pool. So if your home or investment property has a pool, you will want to take prevention steps.
Florida has regulations for removing raccoons
. You cannot relocate a raccoon outside of your county, and if you relocate them on someone else's property, it must be at least 40 acres and have written permission from the landowner. Raccoons are considered furbearers and have laws regarding hunting and trapping.
The most common rat and mouse nuisances
are the Norway rat, black rat, and house mouse, all non-native to the Emerald Coast. Rats and mice do not live very long, some less than one year. However, they can cause a lot of damage and leave many offspring in that short period.
are attracted to food, water, and shelter. Pet feed, bird feeders, and trash cans attract rodents. It's good to note that rodents attract raccoons. Fixing rat and mouse problems can eliminate two nuisances. There aren't any regulations regarding capturing and removing rats and mice. However, some specifics can make the job easier. Wildlife control technicians can teach you the correct traps and baits for rodents, which are very clever and suspicious, and understand how to avoid a trap.
Rats can fit through a hole the size of a golf ball and mice through a hole the size of a quarter. Once inside your home, they build nests, chew wires, contaminate foods, and leave trails of urine and feces. The sooner you call for help, the better. When you see one rodent, there are others nearby. Rats and mice can have several litters within the same year. They reproduce and multiply quickly. It doesn't take long to have an infestation. We can help.
and mouse removal
can take days or weeks, depending on the size of the problem. You or your tenants must never handle rats and mice without protection. They can transmit up to 35 diseases to humans.
Squirrels on the Emerald Coast
include the fox, Southern fox, and Eastern gray squirrels. While it is fun to watch squirrels in action, scurrying around and collecting goodies, you must also be aware of the damage they can do to your property. Squirrels
like to create nests inside your attic, walls, chimney, and ducts. They also create fire hazards, broken boards, shredded insulation, and trails of feces and urine that can harbor mold spores.
You will likely hear squirrels chirping, scratching
, and moving their hoards, which include foods like nuts, grains, seeds, fruits, bird eggs, and more. Because they are always on the go, squirrels are known to break shingles, siding, wires, and screens on a home to get from place to place. Squirrels have an innate desire to chew and gnaw due to their teeth being in a constant state of growth, which can cause pain. To prevent this, squirrels chew on hard surfaces, like any part of your house.
Squirrels are considered furbearers and may require permits. Understanding the regulations, including the removal of young, is essential.
Florida has 13 native bat species
and seven non-native species found along the Emerald Coast. Bats are protected species in Florida, and according to Florida Administrative Code rule 68A-4.001
, bats cannot be exterminated or harassed.
Bats can be removed if
it is not between April and August, their maternity season, and as long as the temperature is forecasted to remain above 50 degrees.
Bats are incredibly beneficial to the ecosystem as they consume thousands of insects every night. If you have a bat problem, you likely have a good source of insects and bugs nearby.
Bats will roost in attics, eaves, bridges, sheds, barns, etc. Bats can be very loud and, since they are nocturnal, can keep you awake at night. They also leave a lot of feces, or guano, in their roosting areas. Guano contains uric acid and grows mold spores that can lead to respiratory issues in humans if inhaled. Bats are also known to carry diseases.
The nine-banded armadillo
on the Emerald Coast is active at night, despite having poor eyesight. They are searching for invertebrates, insects, and plants. If they are on your property, they have likely dug burrows nearby. Burrows become dangerous when they are under your home's foundation, swimming pools, and driveways, causing them to become unstable. Burrows can also mean damaged gardens, flower beds, and lawns.
must never be handled without protection since they can harbor diseases. They are known to carry the disease-carrying agent for leprosy.
are like raccoons in that they are nocturnal, and they will eat just about anything. Because they are immune to snake venom, they can eat poisonous snakes. Reports claim opossums can eat around 5,000 ticks in a growing season. Opossums on the Emerald Coast
will raid garbage cans, gardens, and pet feed. Most damage is done to your yard as they dig holes to find insects and steal fruits and vegetables from the garden.
Both raccoons and opossums will enter your home
through a pet door if they think they can access food. Damages may also include broken entryways to crawlspaces, basements, or under decks or porches.
They will growl, hiss, drool, and play dead if they feel threatened. Opossums produce a large amount of waste that can leave stains in or on your home. It can even get embedded in your insulation.
Snakes on the Emerald Coast are abundant. There are 44 native species
. Only six snakes in Florida are venomous. Snakes, even venomous snakes, do not cause many problems. The rate of venomous snakebite
is one death every four to five years, which is less than the deaths from lightning strikes.
Snakes help keep rodent populations under control
, though. A snake can be a sign you have a rodent infestation. During the inspection, we also look for signs of mice and rats.
If you see snakes on your property, you likely have rats and mice around. Most people do not like snakes, however, and want them removed. Snakes do not typically cause damage, but they can be an annoyance.
can be tricky since some are endangered species, such as the Eastern Indigo snake, and there are special laws on how to get rid of them. Rules also exist for handling, caging, and transporting snakes.