Florida Wildlife Management


David-

I'm not sure how much insight I can provide into your endeavors as I am not an expert in mammalian rehab. I specialize in reptile and amphibian rehab. I would be happy to offer a few of my personal opinions for whatever they are worth to you.

It seems to me the problem is not the proper removal of wildlife in the attic, but proper prevention to keep them getting in there in the first place. If people would simply take the time to check for points of entry and keep them sealed off, no problem to begin with. Perhaps a campaign aimed at educating people about how to keep wildlife out of their attic in the first place would be more appropriate and yield greater results towards your goal of not having as many displaced orphans.

Next, we have to put the situation in proper perspective and context. The majority of people view a raccoon in their attic as a pest, an infestation, and a nuisance to be dealt with in the most effective, expedient, and economical avenue possible. Most people don't care about harming or killing the raccoon in the attic, or their offspring. I know this sounds heartless, but it is a fact of life. I deal with it all the time. I love reptiles and enjoy helping them, but I often get calls from people looking for quick pest-disposal and just want to be rid of the disgusting and scary snake in their basement. I don't feel this way, but they do. The sooner we realize and accept that the better we are to keep our emotions under control and in check and can focus on helping the animals that really need us.

As for pest removal, they are a necessary evil. We don't have to like what they do, but we do have to acknowledge that they provide a needed service. I don't think anyone would agree that we should let the roaches run wild and that pest removal companies should leave all pests alone. The problem is how we handle those pests, and how we define what a pest is, and everyone's idea is different. I don't like the fact that most pest removal companies use glue strips to catch and kill snakes. I do like it when they put down bait and poison to kill cockroaches and rats, though. Unfortunately pest and wildlife removal people are not in the business to help wildlife, nor are they trained to do so. But we still need their valuable services even if we don't like it.

Now here's a tidbit that I know is really going to burst your bubble and make you hate me. It is an overabundance of humans and wildlife in close proximity that spawns these problems. By unknowingly providing homes in attics, barns, and garages, and by providing gourmet meals in our garbage cans, we are promoting the rapid unnatural spread of many of these wild animals. The last thing we need is more of them living in the same residential areas. Raccoons and squirrels are not endangered, not threatened, and their populations are booming to the point that interactions between them and humans are rampant and continuous. Raccoons are carriers of not only human zoonotic pathogens such as rabies and typhus, but also canine and feline distemper, parvovirus, coronavirus, and a number of other really nasty diseases that can affect us and our pets. Does that mean I don't think we need raccoons? Of course not. But I don't think we should worry about protecting raccoons that are living uncomfortably close to humans. By doing so we are encouraging more generations of raccoons to live amongst us. Protect the raccoons in their natural environment, not in our environment. (yes, I know it was their home first, but that's another argument that we can't win)

The Florida Division of Wildlife actually prohibits the rehabilitation and release of raccoons in Florida. Even wildlife rehabbers are not allowed to relocate and release them. They must be euthanized by state law. This is because there is such a high risk of disease transmission to humans and pets, they are extremely plentiful and in abundant numbers, and once they have become accustomed to living amongst humans they will continue to return there for easy food and shelter. Once a problem coon, always a problem coon. Florida treats alligators the same way... gators in the wild get help and attention, but one interaction with humans and FL fish and game puts them down. It's because they know once the gator sees humans (or our pets) as a food source they are going to keep coming back. This is bad.

I understand you don't want to see any orphan animal suffer and die, but if those babies in the attic live they are just going to get killed in someone else's attic or shed, if they don't bite a child or someone's dog or have more babies first. I feel that the one's unfortunate enough to have selected a human residence to settle down in made a poor choice, and I don't think we should go out of our way to save those "domesticated" wild animals that will continue to cause problems and situations like the very ones we are discussing now. We should be focusing our efforts on injured and orphaned wild animals that came out of their own native habitat, not try to save the trouble makers and continue to promote these animals living among us by saving and releasing them back into the suburbs.

I applaud your efforts and desire to help orphaned animals in need, I just feel your passions and efforts are somewhat misplaced. The baby raccoons in an attic are not a good thing. We should not promote catch and release these animals. They will continue to cause the same problems and then you will have ten more litters of raccoons to remove from attics.

Hope this helps shed a new perspective and a different light on the subject for you.


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