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Longboat creates wildlife tip brochure

MELISSA REID
Associate Publisher
mreid@lbknews.com

In the wake of concerns and complaints by town residents in the Emerald Harbor area, as well as the neighboring areas in and around the Centre Shops, the town of Longboat Key has created a citizen’s guide to nuisance wildlife.

“Try to feed your pets inside, and if you must feed your animals outside, try to do it during the middle of the day, when raccoons or opossums will not be outside as much,” said Public Works Director Juan Florensa.

Tips such as these are found in the brochure designed to help residents prevent any unwelcome guests such as raccoons, rats or snakes. Information on how to prevent the nuisance animals is provided in the brochure; the primary preventative measure mentioned is to not leave food sources outside.

“If [raccoons] are raiding your garbage can, make it inaccessible by weighting the lid down. Keep your garbage can in the garage or build a bin with latched lids to store them in between garbage days,” are some additional tips in the brochure.

Also of importance is that purposefully feeding raccoons is illegal, as it creates a public nuisance. Once raccoons are fed by humans, particularly intentionally, the animals become habituated to feeding from a particular location and return again and again to the same places they know they can receive food.

Residents not only have raised the issue of nuisance, but also the issue of human safety when in proximity to raccoons, since they carry multiple types of diseases including rabies, baylisascaris (a roundworm) and leptospirosis.

Emerald Harbor resident Weldon Frost attended a commission meeting last year and made the case before commissioners that since the town pays to reimburse the Village Association for the cost of culling peafowl, the precedent has already been set, and the town should therefore also pay for the removal and relocation of raccoons. The town commission denied the insistence by Frost, and the issue of raccoon removal was dropped.

While the town does not control the populations of nuisance animals by trapping and relocating them, which is up to the individual homeowners or homeowner associations, the town does provide for residents the numbers for the Manatee and Sarasota County Extension Programs, as well as the Florida Wildlife Commission, which also has local nuisance wildlife trapper contact information on their Web site.

The town does, however, eliminate dead animals or animals such as insects that have infested water meters.

“Road kills are the most frequent calls we get. We also get calls about bees or wasps that are nesting in a water meter, and we maintain the water meters. We respond to that five or six times per year,” said Florensa.

Florensa also said the town deals with any large sea life that washes ashore, such as a dead sea turtle or fish that is lying on the beach. This includes when a red tide outbreak in the Gulf occurs, and there are large fish kills on the beach.

If residents have any questions about wildlife, they can call Town Hall at 316-1999 or contact the appropriate organization:

Manatee County Extension Program: 722-4524

Sarasota County Extension Program: 861-9500

University of Florida Web site: edis.ifas.ufl.edu.html

Florida Wildlife Commission: 888-404-3922 or myfwc.com

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Longboat Key News

1 Response for “Longboat creates wildlife tip brochure”

  1. John Wild says:

    The raccoon in the picture has star power – great teeth, nice fur, clear eyes….. but who made him angry? Has he been talking to the peacock population on the island? He should rest easy, the town is broke and can’t afford to harm him, or deny him those 5 star buffets at the restaurant dumpsters. As long as its ballots, not bullets, Rocky Raccoon and Peacock Pete are safe at home.

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