Wildlife Assistance/Nuisance Wildlife

Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

Generally if you find a baby animal it is best to leave it alone. Often the animal is not orphaned, and the parent may be out getting food for the animal, or watching the baby. Never pick up baby animals and remove them from their natural environment!  To report an injured or orphaned wild animal, contact any of the FWC's 5 regional offices for a list of wildlife rehabilitators or consult one of the rehabilitators on this list.

Additional information about reporting injured manatees or sea turtles is on our website.

Nuisance Animals

Nuisance wildlife is 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.

Human activities can attract certain wildlife species looking for an easy high-calorie meal or shelter under a convenient structure. Unfortunately this can bring them into conflict with the interests of people, and the wildlife can be considered to be a nuisance.  Most wildlife/human conflicts can be resolved by removing the attractant.  If removing the attractant is not feasible or has been tried and is not working, other measures to remove nuisance wild animals can be taken. Trapping a nuisance animal should be a matter of last resort.  Before removing an animal, please read the nuisance wildlife regulations and information.

Wildlife that cannot be taken

The taking of nuisance alligators; deer; bears; bats, bobcats, most migratory birds, their nests or eggs; turkeys; bobwhite quail; or state-listed or federally listed species of special concern, threatened or endangered species is prohibited or may require additional permits.

Protected and regulated species

You can learn more about the rules regarding wild animals online.  Most regulations for wildlife are found in Ch. 68A of the Florida Administrative Code.

Nuisance Alligators

Alligators are considered a nuisance when they are more than four feet in length, and are determined to be a threat to the welfare of the public, or the public's pets, livestock, or property. Only a licensed nuisance alligator trapper may capture or remove an alligator. More information about living with alligators is available on this website.

If you need to report a nuisance alligator, call toll-free, 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

You can find more information about Nuisance Alligators online.

Nuisance Bear

If a bear is seen around your neighborhood, it is important to immediately discourage repeat visits. What you can do is determine if there are any attractants in your neighborhood that will cause the bear to return.  If you have unsecured garbage, pet food, barbecue grills, or other food items available in your yard, you should secure those items as soon as possible. A nuisance bear is one that looks for handouts, hangs around because it thinks food is available, or becomes aggressive, etc.  More information about living with bears is available on this website. If you have a nuisance bear in your neighborhood or on your property, please contact your local FWC regional office or call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Nuisance Deer

White-tailed deer will occasionally cause damage to cultivated crops.  For small gardens, this situation often can be improved by installing an inexpensive electric fence.  When it is not possible to install an electric fence or deterrent fence, and under special restrictions, deer causing damage to crops can be harassed (scared) with a gun and light at night, when authorized.  Find out more information on the Gun and Light at Night Permit.

In cases where a Gun and Light at Night Permit is not eliminating the depredation or is not feasible, and in situations where deer are causing extreme damage to a crop, contact your local FWC regional office to request a Depredating Deer permit for temporary relief.

Protected Fish and Wildlife

A FWC permit is required for take of any state listed species. Protected fish and wildlife include those species listed as endangered, threatened or species of special concern. FWC rules prohibit activities that may have a negative effect on protected fish and wildlife without a permit.  More information about living with wildlife is available on this website.

Rabid Animals

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is agency primarily responsible for rabies response, prevention, treatment and control.  If you suspect an animal of having rabies or if someone has been bitten, contact the local County Health Department.  Public health staff will investigate animal bite reports.  The DOH can request help from the Sheriff's office, Animal Control or the FWC, but their staff will make that decision. View the listing of Florida County Health Departments at www.doh.state.fl.us/chdsitelist.htm.

For more information about rabies control and prevention in Florida, visit the DOH on the Web at: www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/rabies/rabies-index.html.

Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Problems

In the spring, bird species around the state start to build nests. Occasionally, this nesting behavior comes into conflict with human activities. Nuisance bird issues are not as easy to mitigate as nuisance mammal issues. Most birds are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Joint state-federal permits are issued under very limited circumstances to keep or remove native wild birds or their eggs or nests. For information on Migratory Bird and Eagle Permits, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

For more information contact the FWC's Division of Habitat & Species Conservation, Species Conservation and Planning Section. Often, nesting birds will use the nest for only a month or so before their young are ready to go. It is usually advisable to leave these birds alone until they are done with their nesting cycle.

Migratory nongame birds that cause damage to trees, crops, livestock or wildlife, or that are concentrated in such numbers that they are nuisance, may be taken with permits issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by calling 404-679-7070.  Blackbirds, grackles, cowbirds and crows can be taken without permits when they are causing damage.

You can find a comprehensive list of birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).

Information about dealing with problem ducks or geese is available on our waterfowl website.

If you are experiencing a problem with roosting vultures, please contact USDA Wildlife Services APHIS Wildlife at 352-377-5556 or toll free at 866-487-3297 for assistance in scaring off the birds.

Dealing with Aggressive Raptors

Birds of prey, also called raptors, include hawks, eagles, falcons and owls. Each spring and summer, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) receives reports of raptors diving at people. These incidents, which are usually caused by hawks, have happened in both urban and suburban areas. Most of these events occur during the nesting season and near an active nest where there are chicks or eggs.  The raptors dive at people who come too close to the nest. The birds view those people as threats to the nest and the babies.  In many cases, the birds dive at people but don't make contact. However, there have been injuries from these birds when they do make contact. Reports show that the birds may dive at people as far as 150 feet away from their nests.  To learn how to handle this situation, read our guide to dealing with aggressive raptors.

 

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