Urban Wildlife - ArmadillosThe armored armadillos:
critters. Find out more about armadillos .
Best laid plans of rats and mice:
The best way to address a rodent problem is to seal off any entrances – even as small as the diameter of a pencil – into your home. Invest in rodent-resistant bird feeders and clean up any pet food in your yard – pet food makes excellent rat or mouse food and can attract them to your home.
If your home is already infested, consider calling a licensed exterminator to address the issue.
Only six of Florida's 44 snake species are venomous, the eastern coral snake, the southern copperhead, the cottonmouth, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the timber rattlesnake, and the dusky pygmy rattlesnake. Most Florida snakes are harmless and even the venomous species are not particularly dangerous unless stepped on or otherwise provoked.
What should you do when you come upon a snake? Just stand back observe it. Snakes don't purposefully position themselves to frighten people. They would much rather avoid encounters and usually will flee.
People who own snakes – specifically venomous species, pythons and other large constricting species – must obtain a special license and observe careful handling provisions to ensure their safety and the safety of others.
The state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission has an information page on snakes .
If a bat were to get inside your house, it is most likely lost, scared and tying to find a way out. Turn the lights off, open the exterior doors or windows in the room and the bat will eventually find its way out on its own. Don’t try to “guide” or “chase” the bat outdoors – it will only feel threatened and confuse it.
Bats occasionally carry rabies, so do not handle or touch a bat – especially one that is behaving strangely.
If you notice several bats coming from your home (the eaves, holes in the fascia or soffit), you may have a bat nest in your home. Check the local yellow pages for wildlife experts or exterminators who have experience with bats.
For more information on Florida’s bats, visit www.floridabats.org .
With so many alligators now in Pinellas County, there is the possibility that one may find its way into your yard. If this is the case, be sure to bring all family members – including the four-legged variety – indoors and call Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission’s nuisance alligator hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). Here is also a web page that has information on what to do about nuisance alligators .
Bees are nature’s most potent pollinators, helping plants and flowers grow. Due to urban sprawl, their natural habitats have shrunk, and colonies of bees may set up a hive in your home, a shed or outbuilding or in your landscaping. While many bees are mild-mannered and want to go about their business of gathering food, some bees can potentially be dangerous if disturbed. These Africanized Honey Bees are a cross between the normal honeybee and an African strain imported to South America in the 1950s. While very similar in appearance, these Africanized bees will defend their nest aggressively.
If you notice significant bee activity around your home, contact a licensed contractor with knowledge about their habits. All efforts will be made to relocate the hive, with extermination as a last resort for the most aggressive of hives.
For more information about Africanized Honey Bees, visit the State’s bee information page .