We often say that Floridians live in paradise with year-round warm weather, lack of snow, plenty of palm trees and a beach just a few minutes -- or at most a few hours -- away anywhere in the state.
It’s also a paradise for raccoons. They absolutely flourish here.
Frequently called masked bandits, they are clever and can be a headache for homeowners.
Last week, I wrote about how I had matched wits with a raccoon in my yard and asked if I was smarter than a raccoon? Believe me, it’s not a foregone conclusion that I am.
If a raccoon won’t take a hint that it’s not welcome, and mosey along, what do we do? A local animal rehabilitator said just sprinkle cayenne pepper in the area where the raccoon has been seen. The raccoon with its finely-tuned nose will get a sniff and move elsewhere.
We can also call a trapper.
Or we can trap it and move it ourselves.
Lt. Jon Dobbs of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said Florida law allows:
n A property owner to have a live trap on their property, so long as the trap is visited at least once every 24 hours. For humane reasons, I would say check it every couple of hours.
n Once the animal is caught, it can be transported off our property elsewhere within the county, but not beyond the county line. The animal can be released on a minimum of 40-acre site, so long as we have written permission from the property owner,
For the purposes of this column, we’re only talking about raccoons.
There are different rules for other things that live in the woods. Don’t even think about messing with black bear, deer, bats, bobcats or many of God’s other creatures out there.
A caution: any wild animal can be dangerous, and from time to time, some animals may be infected with rabies.
So be careful if you want to do it yourself.
When in doubt about what to do, call the state wildlife office. It’s listed on the state government offices page in the phone book.
* * *
What do a former resident of Kenya who loves cricket, a nationally known sportscaster for ESPN, a retired New York firefighter, a local nurseryman and the developer of University Park have in common?
In order, that would be John Clarke, Dick Vitale and his wife Lorraine, Don O’Leary, Darrell Turner and Pat Neal.
The answer is that they are all previous recipients of the C. John A. Clarke Humanitarian of the Year Award presented by the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund.
The Fund is now accepting nominations for the 6th Annual C. John A. Clarke Humanitarian of the Year Award which will be presented Oct. 15.
If you know of someone who has made “outstanding, sustained and unselfish contributions to community enrichment and whose commitment and dedication exemplify the ideal of service to the community,” why not nominate them for this year’s award?
Nomination forms may be downloaded at www.LWRFund.org. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. Friday. Mail them to Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, c/o Manatee Community Foundation, 3103 Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton, FL 34205. For more information, contact Marilyn Howard at email@example.com
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.