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Stray Dogs
Flying Squirrels
Red & Gray Fox
River Otter
Snapping Turtle
Mystery Animal

I very rarely or never deal with the animals listed on this page. I merely included short bits of information about them for the reader's information. I've included a few northern species of animals merely because they are common nuisance species that northern web surfers might want info on.

Florida Alligator

Biology: The American alligator is the largest reptile in North America. Alligators can be found in ponds, lakes, canals, rivers, and swamps throughout Florida. Alligators are about 10"-12" in length when they are hatched from eggs. Females can grow to approximately 9' in length and 200+ pounds. Males can grow to approximately 13'+ in length and attain 500+ pounds. The record alligator was 19 feet 2 inches. They can live to be 100 years old. When alligators mature their diet includes animals such as muskrats, nutria, beaver, raccoons, large birds and fish, snakes, turtles, deer, etc.

Nuisance Concerns: Alligators are considered a nuisance due to the potential danger they pose to pets or even children wandering near or swimming in Florida waters. Nobody wants an alligator taking up residence in their private pond or worse, swimming pool! If you encounter an alligator, do not approach or harrass it -leave it alone.

I am not licensed to handle nuisance alligators. The Florida Wildlife Commission issues a special license to a select few individuals. If you have a problem with a potentially dangerous or nuisance alligator, please call them at 352-732-1225 or visit this website: http://www.wildflorida.org/gators/

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NOTE: There are no beavers in Florida east of the Suwannee River drainage.

Biology: The beaver is the largest rodent found in North America. Adults can weigh up to 65 pounds and measure from 24 to 36 inches, plus a tail of 12 to 18 inches. With its webbed hind feet, waterproof fur, and unique paddle-shaped tail, the beaver is well-adapted to living in an aquatic environment.

Nuisance Concerns: Beavers are considered a nuisance for two primary reasons: tree cutting and dam building. Tree cutting is undesirable to landowners who want to protect their trees. Dam building is a more serious matter, resulting in flooding forest and farm lands, plugged culverts and the washout of roads.

Beavers do not respond to repellents, and they are impossible to exclude. They may abandon a dam site that is continually destroyed, but the most effective means of beaver control is trapping.

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NOTE: There are no chipmunks in central Florida, just the panhandle.

Biology: Chipmunks are rodents, best described as small ground-dwelling squirrels. They are typically 5-6 inches long and weigh about three ounces. Chipmunks are omnivores. Their diet consists primarily of grains, nuts, berries, seeds, and insects. They are burrowing animals. They hibernate, and store food for the winter.

Nuisance Concerns: Chipmunks are considered a nuisance because they may consume flower bulbs, fruits, seeds, and seedlings. When present in large numbers, they can also cause structural damage by burrowing under patios, stairs, retention walls, or foundations.

I have quite a bit of experience in chipmunk control, am familiar with the most effective trapping methods, and am successful in eliminating nuisance chipmunks around the home.

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Biology: Coyotes are members of the canid family, which includes wolves, dogs and foxes. Adults coyotes weigh an average of 30 to 50 pounds, and are four to five feet long from nose to end of tail. They are carnivores, whose diet consists of rabbits, deer fawns, birds and various invertebrates. They also scavenge and can bring down larger prey in packs. They raise pups in dens, but seldom dig their own. They possess exceptional senses of smell, sight and hearing, and can produce a distinct howl.

Nuisance Concerns: Coyotes prefer solidation, but become a big nuisance when it comes to certain livestock. Occasionally, an individual coyote learns that chickens, sheep, lambs and calves are easy prey.

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Florida Deer

Biology: The white-tailed deer is distinguished by conspicuous ears, long legs, and narrow, pointed hooves. Adult males have spreading, branching antlers. The tail is brown above and white underneath. When deer are alarmed, the tail is raised high, revealing a white "flag" as the deer bounds off through the woods. Juvenile deer, or fawns, have white spots which fade with age. Florida's deer are smaller than the national average. Adult males may weigh 125 pounds. There are currently about 750,000 deer in Florida. Deer efficiently forage over a narrow home range with a diet consisting of trees, flowers, bulbs, shrubs, seedlings, vegetables, and fruits.

Nuisance Concerns: The primary problem with deer is their appetite. They will eat a vast variety of vegetation. They can eat your crops, damage your trees, and can ruin your nice landscaping. Deer are also responsible for the spread of Lyme Disease, because they are carriers of Deer Ticks.

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Florida Stray Dogs

Dogs are often our beloved family pets. Unfortunately, many dogs do not have homes, due to a variety of reasons. Some of them become a nuisance around town. They can bark, harass other dogs, scavenge, and worst of all pose as a violent threat to unsuspecting civilians. Others simply wander without homes, and still others have homes, but have gotten themselves lost. If you find a stray dog, or are having problems due to dangerous strays, contact the Animal Services division in your county, and they will attempt to capture it and bring it to the local humane shelter.

ORANGE COUNTY: for a dog complaint or welfare problem, call 407-352-4390

SEMINOLE COUNTY: for a dog complaint or welfare problem, call 407-665-5201

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Florida Flying Squirrels

Biology: The southern flying squirrel is a small, nocturnal mammal weighing 3 to 5 ounces and measuring 6 to 8 inches in total length. It has a long, broad, flattened tail, very eyes, and thick, silky fur. It is a colonizing mammal. It does not actually fly, but uses flaps of skin on either side of its body to glide through the air.

Nuisance Concerns: Flying squirrels are a nuisance because they are colonizing animals. In the wild, they prefer hollowed out trees as nesting sites, but many decide that your attic is a swell environment. Because they are nocturnal, you may hear them scurrying about at night, particularly as they move in and out of the building. Many people hear the noise and mistake flying squirrels for rats, mice, or other types of squirrels, such as the Eastern Gray Squirrel. People don't like the noise that a colony of flying squirrels can make at night, nor do they appreciate the biohazard that the droppings pose. Flying squirrels chew, like all rodents, and can leave stains on your house at exit/entry sites.

I deal with many flying squirrel jobs each year. Their tendency to use the attics of buildings brings them into the realm of the nuisance animal. I can always identify them by their unique scent. My methods of capture, exclusion, and damage repair will eliminate your flying squirrel problem. If you are hearing noises in your attic, soffits, or walls at night, there's a good chance these little critters are responsible.

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Florida Red & Gray Fox

Biology: A medium-sized canid with a large bushy tail, often tipped in white. Ranges in color from grayish and rust red to a flame red, usually reddish-brown. Adults measure 35-45 inches in length from nose to tip of tail and weigh between 12 and 18 pounds. Generally moves at dusk and dawn, though may be active in mid day. Fox use a variety of habitats for dens, including abandoned holes dug by other animals. Diet is varied, though it often includes small mammals and birds.

Nuisance Concerns: Fox are a nuisance primarily for poultry producers. Turkeys, chickens, ducks, and geese are all susceptible to an opportunistic fox. Young pigs, lambs, and small pets are also killed by foxes. Foxes may carry rabies. Additionally, foxes have been known to steal pet food left outside for outdoor pets.

I deal with a few nuisance fox every year. If a fox is harming your poultry farm, call about our predator abatement program.

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NOTE: There are no groundhogs in the state of Florida.

Biology: The groundhog, also known as the woodchuck, is a member of a group of large, ground-dwelling squirrels, called marmots. Adult groundhogs measure 18 to 24 inches long and weigh about 6 to 10 pounds. The woodchuck is almost a complete vegetarian, eating leaves, flowers and soft stems of various grasses, of field crops such as clover and alfalfa, and of many kinds of wild herbs. Certain garden crops like peas, beans and corn are favorites. Chucks occasionally climb trees to obtain apples and pawpaws which they relish.

Nuisance Concerns: Groundhogs are a nuisance primarily because of their tunneling ability. The are prodigious diggers, and often choose to dig burrows along edges, such as your house or deck. They can seriously undermine support of your house's foundation, deck, or outdoor stairs. It is important to eliminate groundhog tunnels next to a house. Its burrows are also dangerous to both horses and cattle. In addition, groundhogs will eat most of the crops in your garden if given access.

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Florida Muskrats

NOTE: There are no Common Muskrats (pictured) in the state of Florida, only Roundtail Muskrats.

Biology: The common muskrat is the largest member of the rat and mouse family (Cricetidae) in North America. Adults weigh 3 to 4 pounds. The Roundtail Muskrat found in Florida is smaller. The muskrat is adapted to an aquatic way of life, and is an important and valuable furbearer. They live in family groups, each group occupying a portion of a pond containing a house, feeding areas, and canals through cattails and other pond vegetation. Muskrats eat pond weeds and emergent vegetation. They also eat a variety of animals, including freshwater mussels, frogs, salamanders and small fish.

Nuisance Concerns: Muskrats burrow in the banks of rivers, streams, and ponds. The primary concern is bank erosion. Of course, they pose a threat to dikes as well. Most of the muskrat nuisance complaints are from people who don't like numerous burrows, which erode the bank or can be accidentally stepped in, on the edge of their private pond or stream.

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Florida Nutria

Biology: Nutria are members of the rodent family. Adult nutria are about 14 inches long from the nose to the base of the tail. The tail itself is 12 to 17 inches long, round, and hairless. Nutria average 15 to 20 pounds in weight. Nutria are native to South America. Nutria prefer to live in salt water shoreline mudflats and tidewaters.

Nuisance Concerns: They can disrupt catfish farming, destroy rice and sugar fields, and disrupt flood control. Nutria tear out aquatic plants by the roots to eat them. They are destroying many hectares of marsh vegetation, such as bullrush and cordgrass. When nutria eat all of the grasses in a marsh, the ecosystem is disrupted. This damage impacts wading birds, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and many other organisms. The roundworms infesting nutria can cause health problems for man. The roundworm larvae is present in the water where nutria are found, and this larvae can penetrate human skin. Known as "nutria itch", severe inflammation can result, which requires medical attention.

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Florida Cottontail Rabbit

Biology: The Cottontail Rabbit is not in the rodent family. It is classified as a Lagomorph. An adult cottontail is about 15 to 18 inches long and weighs between two and three pounds. Litter sizes up to l0 have been reported, but typical litters number from 3 to 5 young, born after a gestation period of about 28 days. Eastern Cottontails are herbivorous, eating a wide variety of plant materials.

Nuisance Concerns: Rabbits are primarily a nuisance due to crop damage. In high numbers, they can decimate your garden. Additionally, Tularemia is a bacterial disease of rabbits that is transmittible to humans, usually through openings in the skin.

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Florida River Otter

Biology: The river otter is the largest member of the Mustelidae family which includes the mink, weasels, skunks and badger. Adult animals are three to four feet long, including the 12- to 1 8-inch tail, and generally weigh 15 to 25 pounds. Otters are usually found in or near water and are well adapted for aquatic Iife. Their streamlined bodies, webbed feet and long tails contribute to their excellent swimming ability. Fish make up the greatest portion of the otter's diet. Crayfish are also an important food when available. Other foods include amphibians, insects, mammals and birds.

Nuisance Concerns: Not many, though otters occasionally cause depredation problems at fish hatcheries and rearing areas. As with all animals, their presence on your private property may be unwanted for a variety of reasons.

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NOTE: There are no porcupines in the state of Florida.

Biology: The porcupine is a rodent of about 20 inches long and 10 to 20 pounds. They are famous for their many sharp quills, which are actually modified hairs, and used in self-defense. Porcupines are nocturnal. They feed on a variety of plants and trees.

Nuisance Concerns: Porcupines are considered a nuisance when they destroy trees or other wood, which they gnaw on, like all rodents. They can also choose your deck as a den site. They pose a potential danger because of the sharp, barbed quills. Like most animals, they are not aggressive, choosing flight over fight. There are no porcupines in Florida, I just like porcupines.

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Florida Skunks

Biology: Skunks are easy to recognize with their bold black and white coloring. While most animals prefer camouflage, a skunk's distinctive coloration serves as a warning of its potent attack. Using special glands below the tail, skunks can spray their powerful scent up to 15 feet. This scent burns an attacker's eyes, and causes temporary blindness. Of course, the stench is too much for most animals to bear, and serves as a strong warning against future attacks. Adult skunks grow to about 22-30 inches and 8-12 pounds. Skunks are primarily nocturnal. Skunks are omnivores, and will feed on almost anything, including small rodents, worms, insects, grubs, carrion, fruit, garbage, and pet food left outdoors.

Don't forget the Spotted Skunk (not pictured), which is oftentimes more common in FLorida than the striped skunk, particularly on the east coast.

Nuisance Concerns: Most skunk problems involve skunks that have chosen to take up residence under a building in a crawlspace, or under a shed or deck. They often dig to gain access to these areas. Skunks are well known for their strong odor. People can often detect a single roadkilled skunk for miles. No homeowner appreciates this scent under their deck. Furthermore, a skunk in the area poses a constant threat to nosey pets. I've cleaned dogs that have been sprayed before, and believe me, the scent does not come off easily. Of course, no person wants to risk being sprayed by a startled skunk.

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Florida Snapping Turtle

Biology: Snapping Turtles average 8-12 inches long and 10-35 pounds, though they can grow to weights of up to 65 pounds Common snappers are at home in slow-moving streams, rivers, lakes and ponds. They consume a variety of aquatic plants and many kinds of animals including fish, frogs, birds, and small mammals. They are also effective scavengers and clean up dead fish and drowned animals.

Nuisance Concerns: Pond n. - A body of water surrounding a Snapping Turtle. If you own a pond in Florida, even a small one, there's a chance you've got a home for a Snapping Turtle or two. Snapping turtles are well-known for their aggressive behavior. Their strong jaws are capable of delivering a serious bite. Your pet might be in for a surprise should it encounter a nesting snapper on land.

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Mystery Animal

That scratching in the attic, that bump in the night, that howling on the wind ...it could be anything!  Or perhaps you saw some creature which you swear doesn't have a listing in the Audubon Society Guide To North American Mammals. Well, don't trouble yourself over it any longer.  Just call Sherlock Seerveld of 24/7 Wildlife Removal and we'll discover the identity of the culprit.  We carefully examine every bit of evidence.  Footprints! Hair samples! Excrement samples! Telltale odors! Scratch marks! Chew marks! Bedding material! Hole size! Type of noise! Environment of animal! Time of year! Time of day! DNA evidence!  By golly, if it's there, 24/7 Wildlife Removal will find it and bring it to justice. Just call our crime lab at 407-729-6946

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