The University of North Florida campus is situated in the midst of a wildlife preserve. The boundaries of this wildlife preserve were dictated by President Delaney, unfortunately the animals in the preserve were not willing to read the announcements and do not abide by the boundaries so we have to . People also want to see the animals so they will venture into the preserve portions of the UNF campus. Under no circumstances should any wild animal be fed; Florida statutes provide criminal penalties for feeding certain species.
The alligators at UNF are American Alligators (Alligator missippiensis). The United States Fish and Wildlife Service lists the American Alligator as "Similarity of Appearance (Threatened)" More information can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife service's website.
There are several bat colonies living on campus. Some are living in bat houses that have been installed on or adjacent to buildings on campus. Bats are known to be carriers of rabies and should not be handled. In the event that you find a bat that is on the ground during the day pleas contact EHS so they can relocate the animal to a safe location. More information can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife service's website.
UNF has several small colonies of feral cats on campus. The exact source of these cats is not known however, the likely source is abandoned domestic pets. When cats are released into the wild their natural predatory instinct becomes more prominent and they will scavenge and hunt for food to survive. The cats will also become territorial and defend their territory thereby limiting the number of cats present. This integration into the natural ecosystem is hindered when food is placed out for these animals. More information can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife service's website.
Many Canada Geese reside year-round at UNF. Geese can be carriers of disease and leave fecal material where they eat. To manage the location of the geese UNF has engaged Goose Masters to keep the geese away from areas of high human traffic on campus.
North Florida is home to a variety of venomous snakes and non-venomous snakes, careful studying and key characteristics will aid in species identification however identification is not usually required. Whenever you encounter a snake you should avoid provoking the snake and leave the area. Snakes provide essential rodent control in the areas where they live. More information can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife service's website.
Raccoons are found throughout Florida and are known to be carriers of rabies and distemper. Raccoons in urban areas are extremely proficient scavengers and will find any source of food that is not in a secure container. Raccoons will often find food dishes left for outdoor animals including cats and dogs. To minimize the presence of raccoons in the area it is recommended to feed your animals indoors or under supervision. More information can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife service's website.