Having a backyard is a wonderful way to enjoy nature and relax in the comfort of your own home. However, encounters with gators, snakes, and other creatures can sometimes disrupt the peaceful, neighborhood vibe.
According to CDC data over the last 20 years, Florida ranked third overall in deaths caused by animals, totaling 247 events. In addition, backyard predators, including snakes and alligators, ranked in the top five most violent offenders.
Knowing how to deal with these creatures can help you maintain a safe and enjoyable outdoor space; it’s crucial for maintaining a harmonious coexistence.
Understanding the Florida Wildlife
Before diving into strategies for dealing with backyard creatures, it’s essential to understand the wildlife that may appear in your area. Familiarize yourself with the types of creatures that are common in your region. Research their behaviors and habits. For instance, if you live in the southeastern United States, you might encounter alligators, venomous snakes like rattlesnakes or copperheads, and non-venomous snakes like garter snakes.
Different regions have different types of creatures, and knowing what you might encounter will help you prepare and react appropriately.
Seek Expert Advice
To gather relevant information about the wildlife in your area, consult local wildlife agencies or conservation organizations, such as the state’s Department of natural resources or local animal control. They can provide you with insights into the behavior, habits, and habitat preferences of these creatures.
If the problem is out of hand, there are always pest control establishments that offer a plethora of services, especially in terms of a wildlife invasion. However, trying to handle the situation on your own could be risky and, quite frankly… stupid.
Create a Wildlife-Friendly Backyard
Creating a wildlife-friendly backyard is an effective way to minimize encounters with potentially dangerous creatures. By making your outdoor space less attractive to them, you can encourage them to seek habitats elsewhere.
Keep your yard clean and free of fallen fruits, bird feeders, or pet food that might attract wildlife. Regularly trim vegetation, mow the lawn, and clear away debris to reduce hiding spots for creatures. Additionally, depending on the wildlife in your area, installing a fence can help prevent creatures like alligators from accessing your property.
Remember, creating a wildlife-friendly backyard doesn’t mean excluding all creatures. Instead, it’s about finding a balance that ensures your safety while respecting the natural environment.
Purchase Animal Repellant
There are numerous animal repellents you can purchase at your local grocery store. Best of all: if you’re a Pacifist, they don’t harm the animals. All you must do is sprinkle, spray, or lay the repellent around the affected areas. Then, to avoid poisoning the animal, use the repellant exactly as instructed on the label.
Florida Gator Safety
Encountering an alligator in your backyard can be a daunting experience. Be sure to stay at least 30 feet from the reptile; never approach or feed them. Seal off any openings, such as gaps under fences or openings in the shoreline, to prevent them from entering your property.
If you have a pond or lake in your backyard, be cautious when approaching the water’s edge, especially during mating season or when there are young gators present.
If you do encounter a nuisance alligator, contact local wildlife authorities or animal control for assistance in safely removing it. It’s important to remember that alligators are protected wildlife in many areas, and harming or killing them is illegal without proper authorization.
Florida Snake Encounters
Snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, are common in many backyards. However, it can be tricky to spot the difference between the two. To avoid getting bit, maintain a safe distance of at least several feet and avoid sudden movements that may startle or provoke the snake.
If you have time, familiarize yourself with the venomous snake species in your area to know which ones to be cautious around. Then, seek local resources or wildlife agencies for identification assistance.
Also, keep your yard tidy, remove clutter, and trim vegetation to minimize hiding spots for snakes.
Store Food Properly
Proper food storage is crucial to avoid attracting creatures to your backyard. Keep trash cans tightly sealed with lids, and consider using animal-proof containers. If you have pets, don’t leave their food bowls outside overnight.
Any leftover food should be promptly removed and disposed of properly to avoid attracting unwanted visitors.
Teach Children About Wildlife Safety
Maybe you’re in the know when it comes to handling critter in your backyard, but if you have children, it’s important to educate them about wildlife safety. Teach them to stay away from snakes and to never approach or provoke animals.
Make sure they understand the importance of not touching or feeding creatures, as this can lead to dangerous situations. Encourage them to alert an adult if they encounter any wildlife in the backyard.
Other Florida Backyard Creatures
Besides gators and snakes, other creatures may visit your backyard. Here are tips for dealing with some common ones:
- Mosquitoes: Eliminate stagnant water sources, use mosquito repellent, and install screens on doors and windows to minimize mosquito presence.
- Raccoons: Secure trash cans with tight lids, remove potential food sources, and seal off access to areas where they could build dens.
- Birds: Use scare devices like reflective tape or decoys to deter birds from nesting in unwanted areas.
If you want to learn more about Florida wildlife, read: “!0 Most Dangerous Florida Animals.”
And, if you want to learn even more about wildlife in the Sunshine State, the YouTube channel Florida Wildlife Federation has several great videos: