Living with Wildlife
Port St. Lucie is home to a variety of wildlife that have adapted to living in an urban environment. The majority have adapted their way of life around the fast living lifestyles of our residents and are rarely noticed.
However, there are occasions when wildlife and humans interact, and it is important to know and understand their role in our ecosystem. Port St. Lucie Animal Control can help residents identify local wildlife and provide information to ease concerns or remedy potential problems.
For general questions regarding wildlife in your neighborhood, contact our office at 772-871-5042.
The State of Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission defines “nuisance wildlife” as 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. Due to the regulations regarding the trapping and release of “nuisance wildlife” the City of Port St. Lucie Animal Control division cannot provide this service. Any healthy wildlife caught in a trap will be released onto the same property in which it was caught. A resident may contact a licensed wildlife trapper to remove nuisance wildlife. Consult your local telephone directory or www.myfwc.com for contact information.
The Animal Control division can assist a resident with alternatives such as the use of deterrents and repellents. For tips on how to live with wildlife and steps you can take to deter them, download our Nuisance Wildlife Guide or click on the links below for more info.
Orphaned Wildlife: If You Care, Leave It There
Do not touch or handle baby wildlife. The animal’s mother is usually nearby feeding or caring for other young. If you believe the animal has been abandoned or its mother killed or injured, contact a wildlife rehabilitation center or dial 911 and request an Animal Control Officer.
Common Florida Wildlife
Port St. Lucie Animal Control officers can catch and remove venomous and non-venomous snakes.
A trap cannot be used to capture alligators or snakes. Animal Control officers are allowed to capture alligators that are less than four feet in length and out of their natural habitat. For alligators longer than four feet, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission should be contacted at 1-866-392-4286.
Gopher Tortoises are a species of special concern and are protected under the Florida Administrative Code 68A-25002(9). If their burrows will be impacted by construction or clearing it is important to follow proper permitting procedures to prevent harm to these tortoises.
Sandhill Cranes are notorious for leg injuries. Cranes with broken legs typically can still fly - thus their capture is virtually impossible. On the fortunate side, we know of many cranes with leg impairments that are living successful lives without treatment.
Along with the panther, the wild bobcat is one of two predatory big cats native to the Florida region. Bobcats are found throughout the state from the deepest swamps to suburban backyards. The bobcat is one of several wild creatures that still call Florida home. The adult bobcat can grow to about 50 inches in length and stand 21 inches tall and weigh 35 pounds. The Florida bobcat is seen in all types of habitats including suburban yards, and even city streets from time to time. Bobcats typically do not approach humans but will do so if fed or taught to associate people with access to food. Bobcats can swim and climb trees with ease, two factors that prevent them from falling prey to natural enemies besides human hunters.
The gray fox is one of Florida’s most commonly seen carnivores. A gray fox weights 7-11 lbs. Gray foxes are adaptable, opportunistic carnivores, flexible in their feeding habits, and quite tolerant of people. They feed on small animals, fruit, and insects, but they will also eat out of garbage cans and scavenge road-killed animals. Gray foxes prey heavily on rabbits, but they also eat rodents, birds, insects, acorns and fruit. They are active at night and usually hunt alone. They move at a rapid trot, eyes, ears and nose alert for signs of prey. Gray foxes are most abundant in hardwood forests, pine-oak woodlands and brushy fields.
In Florida, there are 13 resident bat species. Many Florida bat species roost in colonies ranging from a few bats to many thousands, but some roost individually. Some important natural roost sites for Florida’s bats are trees with cavities or peeling bark, palm trees, Spanish moss, and caves.
Coyotes are found in every Florida County. Sighting of Coyotes do not necessarily mean that they are more abundant where sighted. Coyotes are wherever there is suitable habit, regardless of whether or not they are seen. A sighting only confirms that coyotes are present. A Coyote can cover a distance of about 2.5 miles in a night while searching for a meal. Adult males’ range between 18 to 44 pounds and adult females range between 15 to 40 pounds.