FAQs: Nuisance Wildlife
Are there wildlife that cannot be taken?
Yes, there are many species that cannot be taken. For more information about which wildlife cannot be take and resolving problems with these species visit our Wildlife Assistance website.
Who can take nuisance wildlife?
Any person owning property may take nuisance wildlife
- causes (or is about to cause) property damage,
- presents a threat to public safety, or
- causes an annoyance within, under or upon a building
on their property or they may authorize another person to take nuisance wildlife on their behalf. Persons responsible for government owned property are considered "property owners". Nuisance wildlife trappers and property owners who have problems with animals are responsible for complying with the many laws that protect animals. Before removing an animal, please seek assistance in understanding these laws and your options for resolving the problem.
Permits may be required under certain circumstances.
You may want to have another individual take the nuisance animals for you.
FWC does not license nuisance wildlife trappers, but does allow them to advertize their services on our web site. Consult the FWC's list of Nuisance Wildlife Trappers that Operate in Your County. Most trappers will charge a fee for their services. Nuisance wildlife trappers do not need to notify or obtain FWC authorization to take most destructive or nuisance wildlife from private property. All a nuisances wildlife trapper needs to take nuisance wildlife outdoors is the consent of the property owner. Likewise, property owners may take most nuisance wildlife on their own land without notifying or obtaining FWC authorization. Nuisance wildlife trappers attempting to trap in or under a structure should see "Nuisance Wildlife Trappers - Businesses" .
How can nuisance wildlife be taken?
Nuisance wildlife, as defined in Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) 68A-9.010, may be taken using live traps or snares, or, where allowed, firearms during daylight hours. All traps and snares must be inspected at least once every 24 hours. The discharge of a firearm may be prohibited in some cities and residential areas, check with local law enforcement. A permit issued by the FWC regional offices is required to use steel traps to take destructive mammals (excluding species prohibited by the FWC). A Gun and Light at Night Permit and a hunting license are required to use a firearm and a light at night to take nuisance beaver, bobcat, fox, opossum, rabbit, raccoon or skunk, causing destruction of crops and/or livestock. A Gun and Light at Night Permit is not required to take wild hog, coyote, armadillo, black or Norway rat and house mouse, with a gun and light at night.
What do I do with a nuisance animal after it is caught?
Live-captured nuisance wildlife must be released legally or euthanized humanely within 24 hours of capture or trap inspection. Any non-target wildlife should be released immediately at the capture site. Unless prohibited by rabies alert or quarantine issued by County Health Department or County Animal Control, live captured nuisance wildlife may be transported only for the purpose of euthanasia or for legal release, Euthanasia guidelines can be found on the Report of the American Veterinary Medical Association Panel on Euthanasia. Only native species of wildlife may be released. Armadillos, coyotes and muscovy ducks are not native wildlife.
Native nuisance wildlife may be released on the property of the landowner where captured provided the release site and capture site are located on one contiguous piece of property. Native nuisance wildlife may be released off the capture site if the release site is a minimum of 40 contiguous acres, located in the same county as the capture site, and the person releasing the nuisance wildlife has in their possession written permission from the landowner of the release site allowing release on their property. Nuisance wildlife may not be released on federal, state, county, local or private lands without written permission of the landowner.
Where and how is a carcass disposed?
To dispose of carcasses, please keep these precautions in mind and follow these instructions. When handling dead birds or other wildlife, work outdoors and try to stay upwind of the carcass. When bagging the carcass, keep the open end of the bag away from your face. Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling carcasses. Do not store carcasses in a cooler, freezer, or refrigerator used for human or animal food, and wash hands thoroughly after handling. Wash any clothing that comes into contact with the carcass with normal household detergent at normal temperatures.
Disposal of dead animals: open up two heavy plastic trash bags. Avoid touching the carcass with your bare hands. Pick up the carcass using disposable gloves or plastic bags worn on your hands. Place the carcass in the first heavy plastic trash bag. Keep the open end of the bag pointed away from your face while tying securely. Next remove gloves or plastic bags from your hands by turning them inside out. Dispose of the gloves or plastic bags in the second heavy trash bag and place the first bag (containing the carcass) in the second bag, as well. Tie the second bag securely and place it in the garbage. If there are many carcasses to be disposed of, please first speak with your local waste management facility.
Where can I buy traps and supplies?
Many feed or home improvement stores will sell or rent animal traps. Some Animal Control offices will also lease traps for domestic animals.
Are Muscovy ducks legal to take?
Muscovy ducks are not considered wildlife and, like other domestic animals, are considered private property. If someone claims ownership, the birds are the owner's to do with as he or she pleases, so long as Florida Statute 828.12 regarding animal cruelty is not violated. Similarly, if the muscovies have no owner, no state or federal law prohibits their capture and humane euthanasia. This can be a last resort to resolve a nuisance problem. As of March 31st, 2010 a federal control order is in effect that allows control by landowners, wildlife management agencies, and tenants, agents, or employees without federal or state permits, and prohibits the release of muscovies. More information may become available (FAQ) on this website http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds.
Information about dealing with problem ducks or geese is available at MyFWC.com/Duck.
Can I trap feral or wild hogs?
On private property, wild hogs may be trapped using pens with trap doors and baited with acorns or old corn. Trapped animals may not be released on public land, and can only be released on private property with landowner permission. There is no size or bag limit, and you may harvest either sex. Also, no hunting license is required.
Before transporting hogs, contact the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry for applicable regulations in Florida.
Feral hog trappers should see the permit information on our web site.