The University of North Florida campus is situated in the midst of a wildlife preserve. Animal movements in and around the Preserve and surrounding areas will inevitably result in the potential for human interaction. Under no circumstances should any wild animal be approached, handled, or fed. Federal law and Florida statutes provide criminal penalties for harassing, enticing and/or feeding certain species of animals.
The alligators that are occasionally found at UNF are American Alligators (Alligator missippiensis). The United States Fish and Wildlife Service lists the American Alligator as "Similarity of Appearance to a Threatened species". It is dangerous and illegal to entice or feed alligators. If you spot an alligator on campus, contact EH&S. More information can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife service's website.
There are several species of bat colonies found on campus. Some are living in bat houses that have been installed on or adjacent to campus buildings. Although beneficial in controlling certain insect populations, bats are known to carry and transmit rabies and should not be handled. In the event that you find a bat that is on the ground during the day, contact EH&S for the safe and humane relocation of the animal. More information can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife service's website.
UNF has several small colonies of feral cats on campus. These animals are abandoned by owners and/or migrate here due to our natural surroundings and food supply. When cats are released into the wild, they will prey on smaller animals and can upset the natural balance of an ecosystem. Cats are territorial and will attempt to fend-off newcomers which can limit their population, if an effective Trap, Neuter (spay) Return (TNR) program is in place. UNF operates a TNR program with the help of local volunteers. No one else should approach, feed or trap the feral cats on campus as they can attack and spread disease to domestic pets. Food and water left over from feeding the cats will attract other animals and also spread disease. More information can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife service's website.
Canada Geese can be found in many areas around campus. They are a protected species under the Federal Migratory Bird Act and should not be approached, handled or fed. Many individuals stay on campus year-around due to mild weather conditions, abundant food supply and water bodies. They can then become “resident Canada Geese” and be declared a public nuisance due to the spread of fecal matter, disease and agricultural damage. Under federal and state laws, resident Canada Geese populations can be managed by a variety of methods. UNF has engaged Goose Masters as a humane way to keep the Geese away from areas of high pedestrian traffic on campus.
North Florida is home to a variety of venomous snakes and non-venomous snakes. 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. If it becomes necessary to relocate a snake, Contact EH&S. 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. Do not approach, handle or feed a raccoon. In urban areas, they are extremely proficient scavengers and will find any source of food that is not in a secure container. Raccoons will eat food left outdoors for pets and domesticated animals. To minimize the presence of raccoons in the area, do not leave pet food, scraps and similar items unattended while outdoors. Contact EH&S if you encounter a problematic raccoon on campus. More information can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife service's website.