Panthers We live in the woods out here in Corkscrew Island and there are other, more natural, wildlife residents who also live here. Since we lost two cats last week, which was such a shock, we had a huge wakeup call. Since putting this news out to neighbors, there has been a rash of reports coming in. This is a heads-up alert to keep your domestic animals safe. Our neighbors have lost cats, dogs, goats, chickens, cows and more. Wildlife experts are trying to teach humans how to live intelligently with the natives. A great website is maintained by Florida Fish & Wildlife at: http://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/wildlife.
Here's what they say about the Florida panther. The panther is Florida's official state animal and one of the most endangered animals on earth, with 100 to 160 adults remaining in southern Florida.
Florida does its best to accommodate new residents with homes, schools and roads. But as we grow, suitable habitat for panthers and other wildlife shrinks. Florida panthers normally live in remote, undeveloped areas, but as the number of people living and recreating in southern Florida grows so does the chance of an encounter.
A single panther needs 50 to 100 or more square miles of territory to search for food and mates and these travels often entail crossing roads. More than 100 panthers have been killed on Florida roads in the last 30 years. The Florida Department of Transportation has installed wildlife crossings, which allow panthers and other wildlife to safely cross busy highways, but more crossings are needed. When in panther habitat, be alert, decrease your speed and increase the distance between you and other cars. Scan the roadsides for reflective animal eyes.
At home exercise particular caution from dawn to dusk when Florida panthers are most active. Unsecured garbage, pet food and vegetable gadens attract deer, raccoons and wild hogs. These are panther prey! Trim or remove vegetation to eliminate forage for the deer and hiding places for panthers. Keep livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night and keep pets safely inside. Supervise children and install outside lighting.
Camping and hiking: Most panthers want to avoid humans. Hike only in daylight and with a friend. Make noise so as not to surprise a napping cat. Keep children and dogs close to you. Never approach a panther or what may be a panther kill. Panthers cover their kill and return to feed on it for several days.
Bobcats Aside from the panther, the bobcat is the only other feline specifies that can be found throughout Florida. The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is equipped with razor-sharp claws, needle-like teeth, and the strength to make good use of these weapons. The false perception that the bobcat has hardly any tail has given rise to many people thinking they have seen a panther when they have, in fact, seen a bobcat. The bobcat fur is short, soft, and dense. Its color is dark brown with black spots and bars most visible along the sides and legs. The backs of the bobcat ears are white with a black outline. Their underparts are generally white. Bobcats are the size of small- to mid-sized dogs, weighing between 15 and 35 pounds and measuring about 3 feet long.
Bobcats can be found throughout the United States, but they are abundant in every county of the Sunshine State. Because bobcats prefer habitats with deep forests, rural areas and swampy areas, Florida is home to most of the nation's bobcats. Due to its abundance in Florida, the bobcat is not listed as endangered nor threatened. However, it is classified as a fur-bearing game animal by the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission and can only be hunted during certain months of the year. Because bobcats are relatively small they do not need a large amount of land area to hunt prey. They typically stay within a 5- to 1 square-mile home range when they find an area of abundant food. However, males tend to stray farther from home.
Feral Cats Member
Michele Antonia reports that it is illegal to shoot feral cats. If
someone is having a concern with cats, he or she is welcome to call
Michele Antonia. She has Animal Compassion Project, Inc., a 501C3 non
profit for animal rescue, particularly feral cats. The Humane Society
will not take stray dogs, stray cats or feral cats. The HS only accepts
owner-surrendered animals. Other animals must go to the county's
Domestic Animal Services. Feral cats are killed. Michele Antonia Animal
Compassion Project, Inc. a 501C3 organization for no-kill rescue, all-volunteer-run feral cat, companion animal rescue and referral promoting alternatives to euthanasia.