As residents of South Florida's incredible natural habitat, we are home to many different species of wildlife. At some point, most Floridians will come across some of the most popular neighborhood "critters", including iguanas, raccoons and opossums. Because humans are gradually encroaching on or living near many natural animal habitats, displaced wildlife often have nowhere else to go, so they venture into human habitats.

These nuisance animals will eat almost any plant or animal-based food.  Reducing the amount of available food is probably the most important preventive measure. Typical food sources include garbage, pet food, bird seed, fallen fruit from fruit trees, and small animals.

To report an injured or orphaned wild animal, please contact the Coconut Creek Police Department Animal Services unit at 954-973-6758 or email the Animal Services Unit.

For more information on laws regarding Florida wildlife please visit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Dealing with an animal issue?

Nuisance wildlife can be defined as any animal or animals exhibiting behavior that causes property damage, presents a threat to public safety or causes an annoyance within, under, or upon a building. We have a wide array of wildlife here in Coconut Creek that can fall under this category. The goal of the Animal Services Unit is to create a healthy balance between the wildlife living in our city and the residents. This goal will be obtained by educating the residents, removing native wildlife that have become trapped in residential areas and teaching residents how to deter wildlife from residential spaces.


Raccoons: Our most common neighbor

Nuisance-Wildlife-Raccoon

Raccoons are our most common neighborhood nuisance. They have opposable thumbs which allow them to climb with ease and get into secured areas. They are scavengers who will make a meal out of almost anything edible and they will search for food day and night even though they are generally nocturnal. Never try to approach a raccoon, they are the number one carrier of the Rabies virus, and if you ever see a raccoon exhibiting abnormal behavior call the Animal Services Department immediately.

Deterring Raccoons
  • The best way to deter raccoons from moving into your yard is to decrease their access to food.
  • Raccoons don’t read the packaging on the food. It may say “bird seed” and you may have been trying to feed only birds or cats, but food left out will attract raccoons, coyotes, opossums, and many other species.
  • If you have fruit trees, picking up dropped fruit will deter wildlife from coming into your yard. Securing trash can lids with weights and/or Bungee cords will also keep them from making your yard their home.
  • If you feed outdoor cats, feed them at a certain time and then pick the food bowls back up when they are done. Leaving bowls of food out all day will encourage opossums to enter your yard.
Legal Options of Removal
  • It is illegal to relocate native species in Florida without a wildlife trapper license.
  • As with all wildlife, raccoons are protected by anti- cruelty law and inhumane treatment of them is punishable by law.
  • No poisons are legal for use on raccoons or any native wildlife in Florida.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have several laws in in regards to trapping wildlife that have been deemed a nuisance. Before taking on any wildlife removal on your own you must consult the FWC website, located in the quick links tab, to ensure that you are not breaking any laws.  Hiring a licensed wildlife trapper is the best option to ensure that the wildlife is safe and everything is done legally. Please call Animal Services at the number below if you are dealing with any issue regarding nuisance wildlife.

Iguanas: An invasive species

Florida’s subtropical climate has allowed iguanas to thrive and reproduce in regions of the state where they have been introduced into the wild. Iguanas can be a nuisance to homeowners by damaging landscape plants or gardens, leaving droppings in yards and pools, or causing property damage by digging burrows.

Deterring iguanas
  • Never feed iguanas directly or inadvertently by leaving attractants outside, such as pet food or ripened fruits.
  • Avoid planting vegetation that iguanas eat, such as hibiscus, orchids and roses.
  • Protect plants or gardens with cages or screened enclosures.
  • Haze iguanas by spraying with a water hose until they leave the area, or install a motion activated water sprinkler.
  • Iguanas are excellent climbers so trim overhanging branches to remove the unintentional “bridge” to buildings.
  • Create a wire fence barrier along seawalls or other sensitive areas on your property to prevent digging.
  • Make loud noises to startle iguanas and create an unwelcome atmosphere around your property.
Legal Options of Removal
  • All species of iguana may be humanely captured and killed from private property without a permit at any time with landowner permission. It is illegal to relocate or introduce nonnative species in Florida.
  • As with all wildlife, iguanas are protected by anti- cruelty law and inhumane treatment of them is punishable by law.
  • No poisons are legal for use on iguanas or any reptiles in Florida.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends the use of cage traps to homeowners interested in the live capture and removal of iguanas.
  • Homeowners who capture other nonnative species and need help should call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681).
  • Iguanas may be killed by use of a firearm on private property during daylight hours with landowner permission. Please check with the local sheriff’s office or police department for firearm ordinances before discharging a firearm.

Opossums: The benefits of opossums

Opossums are very beneficial to our ecosystem, they help control the populations of some of our most dangerous pests. Their diet allows them to control the population of ticks, which spread several diseases to humans and our domesticated animals. They also eat snakes, including most of the poisonous species here in Florida thus keeping the population controlled. Their body temperature is too low for the Rabies virus to survive so they are unlikely to carry the disease. Also remember that although opossums are nocturnal animals they will scavenge for food during the day as well.

Deterring Opossums
  • The best way to deter opossums from moving into your yard is to decrease their access to food.
  • Opossums don’t read the packaging on the food. It may say “bird seed” and you may have been trying to feed only birds or cats, but food left out will attract raccoons, coyotes, opossums, and many other species.
  • If you have fruit trees, picking up dropped fruit will deter wildlife from coming into your yard. Securing trash can lids with weights and/or Bungee cords will also keep them from making your yard their home.
  • If you feed outdoor cats, feed them at a certain time and then pick the food bowls back up when they are done. Leaving bowls of food out all day will encourage opossums to enter your yard.
Legal Options of Removal
  • It is illegal to relocate native species in Florida without a wildlife trapper license.
  • As with all wildlife, opossums are protected by anti-cruelty laws and inhumane treatment of them is punishable by law.
  • No poisons are legal for use on opossums or any native wildlife in Florida.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have several laws in in regards to trapping wildlife that have been deemed a nuisance. Before taking on any wildlife removal on your own you must consult the FWC website, located in the quick links tab, to ensure that you are not breaking any laws.  Hiring a licensed wildlife trapper is the best option to ensure that the wildlife is safe and everything is done legally. Please call Animal Services at the number below if you are dealing with any issue regarding nuisance wildlife.

Muscovy Ducks: An invasive species

Muscovy ducks are considered an invasive species and are not native to Florida. This does not mean that we do not benefit from having them around but this does mean that they cannot be released or relocated into new environments.

Muscovy ducks are omnivorous, feeding on worms, insects, fish and reptiles. They will eat mosquitoes and flies avidly and assist in the ‘pest control’ for the environment.

Notice how bread was not listed above, that is because feeding ducks bread actually causes more harm than good. Ducks fed high calorie diets form digestive issues and a syndrome called “Angel wings”.

Angel wings is a syndrome that affects primarily aquatic birds, such as geese and ducks, in which the last joint of the wing is twisted with the wing feathers pointing out laterally, instead of lying against the body. The syndrome is due to a high-calorie diet, especially one high in carbohydrates such as bread and crackers.

Deterring Ducks
  • The best way to deter Muscovy ducks from moving into your yard is to decrease their access to food. This can be hard to do since ducks will eat insects living in the grass but generally they stay closer to water ways unless attracted to your yard.
  • Muscovy ducks don’t read the packaging on the food. It may say “bird seed” and you may have been trying to feed only birds or cats, but food left out will attract raccoons, coyotes, opossums, and many other species.
  • If you have fruit trees, picking up dropped fruit will deter wildlife from coming into your yard. Securing trash can lids with weights and/or Bungee cords will also keep them from making your yard their home.
  • If you feed outdoor cats, feed them at a certain time and then pick the food bowls back up when they are done. Leaving bowls of food out all day will encourage ducks to enter your yard.
Legal options of removal
  • It is illegal to relocate or introduce nonnative species in Florida.
  • As with all wildlife, Muscovy ducks are protected by anti- cruelty law and inhumane treatment of them is punishable by law.
  • No poisons are legal for use on Muscovy ducks or any native wildlife in Florida.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have several laws in in regards to trapping wildlife that have been deemed a nuisance. Before taking on any wildlife removal on your own you must consult the FWC website, located in the quick links tab, to ensure that you are not breaking any laws.  Hiring a licensed wildlife trapper is the best option to ensure that the wildlife is safe and everything is done legally. Please call Animal Services at the number below if you are dealing with any issue regarding nuisance wildlife.

Egyptian Geese: Our migrating visitors

Egyptian geese are native to Africa but have set up a temporary home in regions of the United States. We tend to see their population increase in Florida around the spring months when they fly down from northern states. They start their breeding season in early spring and can have a nest size of 5 to 11 eggs. The male and female raise the young together for the next four months until they are ready to venture off on their own.

Geese molt once a year, normally in the early summer months, and during the molting period they are unable to fly. They molt over four to six weeks and during this time removal becomes a very delicate process. If you are dealing with an issue it is best to deter them before or after the molting period.

Geese are omnivorous, feeding on worms, insects, fish and reptiles. They will eat mosquitoes and flies avidly and assist in the ‘pest control’ for the environment.

Notice how bread was not listed above, that is because feeding geese bread actually causes more harm than good. Geese fed high calorie diets form digestive issues and a syndrome called “Angel wings”. Angel wings is a syndrome that affects primarily aquatic birds, such as geese and ducks, in which the last joint of the wing is twisted with the wing feathers pointing out laterally, instead of lying against the body. The syndrome is due to a high-calorie diet, especially one high in carbohydrates such as bread and crackers.

Deterring Geese
  • Geese can also acclimate quickly to sounds and visual deterrents if they are not rotated. Visual deterrents, such as fake predator statues, should be rotated frequently to imitate a real danger. For example, coyote cutouts should be moved several times a week. Windmills can also be used as a visual deterrent but also need to be moved around the yard.
  • Geese are likely to pick an area that has a clear line of sight from a lake or the road. They like having a large line of sight to avoid predators. Adding bushes or some sort of barrier between lakes and yards can decrease the likelihood that they will move into the area.  
  • The best way to deter geese from moving into your yard is to decrease their access to food. Unfortunately this can prove to be nearly impossible since they feed off of insects who live in the grass therefore a “hazing” technique where you spray them with a hose or create loud noises to scare them off may be necessary.
Legal Options of Removal
  • It is illegal to relocate native species in Florida without a wildlife trapper license.
  • As with all wildlife, geese are protected by anti- cruelty law and inhumane treatment of them is punishable by law.
  • No poisons are legal for use on geese or any native wildlife in Florida, although there are some liquid deterrents that can be used to make them avoid certain areas.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have several laws in in regards to trapping wildlife that have been deemed a nuisance. Before taking on any wildlife removal on your own you must consult the FWC website, located in the quick links tab, to ensure that you are not breaking any laws.  Hiring a licensed wildlife trapper is the best option to ensure that the wildlife is safe and everything is done legally. Please call Animal Services at the number below if you are dealing with any issue regarding nuisance wildlife.

Disclaimer:

The City of Coconut Creek does not endorse any nuisance wildlife trappers.  The trapper registry is maintained by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a public service. It is recommended that customers receive multiple quotes from different providers, request and check references, and check for any complaints filed with the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) or similar organization.

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