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Are raccoons multiplying on LBK?

Residents still want town to address what they say are rampant raccoons.

MELISSA REID
Associate Publisher
mreid@lbknews.com

Many residents have written the town distressed about the growing number of raccoons. From the Village to Emerald Harbor to the Centre Shops, citizens have been concerned for weeks about these pesky critters, which seem to be running amok on Longboat Key. And now residents want to know what the town is going to do about it.

Town Manager Bruce St. Denis has maintained that Sarasota and Manatee counties are the agencies responsible for the removal of raccoons, although he acknowledges Manatee County no longer traps or relocates raccoons, as traps loaned to residents were not always returned. St. Denis did say that many feed or home improvement stores will sell or rent animal traps. He also said Manatee County now refers animal complaint calls to Florida Fish and Wildlife.

However, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) does not usually remove nuisance animals unless the animals are injured, according to its Web site. The FWC also explains that individual homeowners can trap certain animals themselves, although the animal must be a member of a non-game, non-listed, non-native and otherwise non-protected wildlife species.

“With the exception of trapping protected wildlife (for example, alligators), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission does not require commercial nuisance wildlife trappers to register services. Additionally, a property owner does not need a permit to exclude or trap nuisance wildlife as long as it is a non-game, non-listed and otherwise non-protected species…In part, the rule, FAC 68A-9.010, states that live-captured nuisance wildlife can be moved only to euthanize it, or the animal can be released alive on site. FWC prohibits inhumane treatment of animals. Euthanasia guidelines can be found on the Report of the American Veterinary Medical Association Panel on Euthanasia,” states the FWC Web site.

At the Nov. 18 workshop, the Town Commission discussed the possibility of adding an ordinance that would regulate the removal of raccoons, similar to the ordinance governing peacock removal, but no action was taken. The commission determined that the town would not take on the additional responsibility of removing raccoons or other island pests. The town has an ordinance that entails limiting the number of peacocks in the Village to 12, and the town has an agreement with the Village Association to help reimburse them for the cost of the removal of the birds.

Commissioners added that their respective homeowners’ associations pay for the cost of removal of any pests such as raccoons.

Resident complaints
Barbara and Peter Schmidt of Evergreen Way, just south of Spanish Main Yacht Club, recently e-mailed the town expressing their thoughts on the raccoon problem. They stated they have been coming to Longboat Key for 12 years, and that this year the raccoons are worse than they’ve ever been. They also wrote of a proliferation of raccoon droppings and were concerned about the diseases the animals carry.

Emerald Harbor resident Weldon Frost also wrote the town regarding the raccoons and was unhappy with what he termed the town’s “inaction” regarding the large raccoon population in his neighborhood.

“It is time for the town to eliminate, eradicate, re-settle, remove, transport or export these creatures, who are both a nuisance and a menace. They are a nuisance because of the messes they make and the piles of manure they leave behind. They are a menace because of the diseases they carry—not necessarily limited to rabies. We don’t need raccoons on this island. Period,” wrote Frost in an e-mail to St. Denis.

Raccoon info
According to the National Park Service Web site, raccoons in the wild will live approximately three to eight years, with litters of one to seven cubs being born in the late spring. The animals are omnivorous, eating anything including fish, frogs, insects, eggs, mice, fruit, berries, nuts, plants in a garden and any type of food left outside in garbage.

Both the National Park Service and National Geographic Web sites recognize that raccoons are highly intelligent and are very curious and clever. Their almost hand-like front paws and long, thin mobile fingers make raccoons agile climbers that can learn to open jars, cans and latches, turn on faucets, untie knots and even turn doorknobs. Raccoons will often choose to live in tree holes, fallen logs and occasionally a house’s attic or other crawlspace.

Raccoons carry several diseases transmittable to humans including rabies, roundworm, leptospirosis and distemper.

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Longboat Key News

4 Responses for “Are raccoons multiplying on LBK?”

  1. randy fowler says:

    “It is time for the town to eliminate, eradicate, re-settle, remove, transport or export these creatures.

    Its hard to see your problem from the seat of Town Manager or other Public Official when you are to busy working on more important things .

    help the people ,” Town of Longboat Key” keeping Longboat , Longboat.

  2. John Wild says:

    Cedars East has a large FDEP Conservation Easement which is chock-a-block FULL of Rocky Raccoon and his buddies. Protected by the laws against firing a weapon, and feeding at the dumpsters behind Euphemia Haye, Harry’s and Don Giovani, these bandits escape to the protected mangrove sanctuary where people are forbidden to go. Cedars East Condo Association has paid a “trapper” to catch them and haul them away at $165 a trip. They’re darn smart, however, and manage to avoid capture. When the trapper is putting cat food in the cages, and they’re eating scraps from Harry’s or Euphemia Haye, who says these are dumb animals. They’re eating better than most residents. If we could get permission to enter this protected enclave, and hire perhaps 200 out-of-work landscapers with leaf blowers and weed whackers, perhaps we could drive Rocky and his brethren up to the Village where they might develop a taste for peacock. Wonder if it tastes anything like pheasant?

  3. J. Lev says:

    If some of you were as smart-enough you might consider what I’m about to mention. Raccoons that are sickly or even rabid probably get that way not having enough to eat! And in my opinion most raccoons deserve to eat better than some of you. You people treat your dogs and cats like they were your children. You discipline them, you bathe them, you sleep with them, you brush their teeth, you groom them, you clothe them, you bring them to the doctors, you kiss them on the mouth when they’ve eaten their own feces and the list goes on…. Why haven’t you people realized that raccoon are more beautiful than your smelly, barking dogs and bird-killing cats??? God forbid any of you should feed a raccoon, right? Instead you’ve seem them as a nuissance, you’ve wanted them removed and even eradicated! I think some of you people are sick! What happens to stray dogs when they don’t have food to eat? They get sickly and go thru people’s rubbish barrels, right? If any of you decide to wake up and pull your heads out of your butts feed them once in a while or plant trees and shrubs in vacant areas that produce nuts and fruits that raccoons can eat! You might find less raccoons running around your neighborhoods desperately hungry and sickly looking for scraps! You might even find yourself someday loving a raccoon as much as your dogs. I used to have raccoons going thru my rubbish barrels every night. I hated it, but then I started thinking of a solution. I started feeding them and low and behold after a short time they would sit in my lap and eat grapes from my hand and would sniff my nose! I used to feed any animal that came in my yard. My house was located at the end of a dead-end street where I could get away with it. I used to hand-feed raccoons, skunks, opposum, fox, geese and swans. There’s nothing wrong with feeding certain wildlife. If we all fed the smaller critters around us they wouldn’t be wild anymore or sick! People would start loving them like you do already with your dogs and cats spending thousands on them each year…. People have been stupid in my opinion…. It’s people that have been wild AND cruel at times!

  4. J. Lev says:

    What’s so bad about feeding raccoons? It may sound crazy to many people and most of you dog-lovers, but if enough people fed raccoons and learned that they CAN become tame if treated right some people might easily even bring their raccoons to have them neutered to help control the population. There’s nothing wrong with feeding racccoons. Food keeps them healthier and happier as they are beautiful animals that God created with good reason. Plus raccoons are probably easier and safer to have around the house than pit bulls and many other types of dogs. They are probably even potty-trainable being as smart as they are!

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