Florida’s Geologic History

fossils

Hundreds of millions of years of geologic processes lead to the formation of Florida. This 7-page fact sheet written by Kyle W. Bostick, Shelly A. Johnson, and Martin B. Main and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation describes the 3 primary processes that created Florida as we know it today: plate tectonics, carbonate production, and siliciclastic invasion, as well as major processes like sea-level change that continue to reform the morphology of the Florida Platform today.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw208

Did I See a Panther?

Florida panther and kittens courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

Florida panthers can sometimes be confused with bobcats, dogs, and coyotes. This 4-page fact sheet written by Diane J. Episcopio, Elizabeth F. Pienaar, and Martin B. Main and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation describes how to identify panthers by their physical characteristics and their tracks and explains what to do if you have seen a panther.
edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw144

Securing Pet Food from Florida Black Bears and Coyotes

Elina Garrison grad assistant holds an armful of bearcubs.

The Florida black bear and the coyote are both prevalent throughout the state of Florida. The number one cause of human-wildlife conflict for these two species are food attractants, including pet food. This 2-page fact sheet written by Kelley C. Anderson and Elizabeth F. Pienaar and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation explains how to secure pets and pet food against both the Florida black bear and the coyote and keep people, pets, and wildlife safe.
edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw437

Status of Capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris Rodentia: Hydrochaeridae) and Potential for Establishment in Florida

capybara out for a stroll

Would you know what to do if you saw a two-foot-tall, 100-pound exotic rodent strolling through your neighborhood? It’s highly unlikely, but, depending on your location, not absolutely impossible. Capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, are native to South America but have been spotted in the state of Florida and may have potential to establish populations here. This 5-page fact sheet written by Brandon Parker, C. Jane Anderson, Christina Romagosa, Samantha Wisely, Daniel Pearson, John Seyjagat, and Katherine Ashley Sayler and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation describes capybaras, explains how they got to Florida, and shows where the semiaquatic, herbivorous rodents have been sighted so far.
edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw438

Building for Birds Evaluation Tool: Built Areas as Habitat for Forest Birds

A male Cardinal at a birdbath, sprinkler, and birdfeeder. Extension calendar 2007.  UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright

A variety of forest birds will use trees and shrubs in built areas as breeding, wintering, and stopover habitat. Scientists have created an online tool to help these birds and the people who appreciate them. This 20-page fact sheet written by Mark Hostetler and Jan-Michael Archer and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation describes the online tool and shows how it can help forest birds.
edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw418

Florida's Bats: Southeastern myotis

southeastern myotis

The southeastern myotis is a small forest- and cave-dwelling bat that lives in Florida. Unlike many other species in Florida, southeastern myotis have long hairs between their toes that extend past their claws. You can learn to distinguish the southeastern myotis from other bats commonly found in Florida in this three-page fact sheet written by Emily Evans, Terry Doonan, and Holly Ober and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw433

Florida's Bats: Tricolored Bat

Tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) from Tennessee.

The tricolored bat, formerly known as the eastern pipistrelle, is the smallest bat found in the state of Florida. It weighs just about as much as a nickel and a penny. Because of their small size and erratic flight pattern, tricolored bats are often mistaken for moths when seen in flight from a long distance away. You can learn to distinguish the tricolored bat from other bat species found in Florida with this three-page fact sheet written by Emily Evans, Terry Doonan, and Holly Ober and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw434

Florida's Bats: Evening Bat

Evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis) from Texas. Portraits, Vespertilionidae, E North America to N Mexico
Copyright Marvin G. Tuttle

The evening bat is a relatively small, forest-dwelling bat. Evening bats are dark brown to yellow with short brown ears and a broad, hairless muzzle. This species looks like the big brown bat but is noticeably smaller. Learn to distinguish evening bats from big brown bats and other common Florida species of bats in this three-page fact sheet written by Emily Evans, Terry Doonan, and Holly Ober and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw435

Land Trusts in Florida: A Brief Guide to Land Trusts

Figure 1. A Florida panther

A land trust is a private nonprofit organization that owns and manages land to protect its natural, economic, and cultural value. Land trusts may also educate the public about local conservation efforts. This two-page factsheet written by Benjamin W. North and Elizabeth F. Pienaar and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation explains the important role land trusts play and provides tips on how to establish a land trust to protect land in your community.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw436

Climate Changes, Shifting Ranges: Climate change effects on wildlife in the Florida Everglades and Keys

Doe and fawn Florida Key deer foraging on palmetto scrub.

Where do the animals go when the sea rises? Learn the probable futures of Florida panthers and other south Florida wildlife in this 5-page fact sheet. Written by Larry Perez, James I. Watling, David Bucklin, Mathieu Basille, Frank J. Mazzotti, Stephanie Romañach, and Laura Brandt and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, it explains how a changing climate could impact wild animals.
edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw428

Building for Birds Evaluation Tool: Forest Fragments Used as Stopover Sites by Migrant Birds

Western meadowlark perched on a fence post near Ona, Florida. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Several bird species use forest fragments and trees conserved in built areas as breeding, wintering, and stopover habitat. Scientists have created a Building for Birds online tool to help these birds and the people who appreciate them. This evaluation tool is most useful for small developments or developments in already fragmented landscapes.

The tool is designed for use when no opportunity is available to conserve large forest areas of 125 acres or more within a proposed development. Developers are sometimes reluctant to conserve trees and forest fragments in subdivided residential/commercial areas because it costs time and money, but there is value in this conservation effort not only for many different species of forest birds, but for future homeowners waking to birdsong in the mornings.

This 18-page fact sheet written by Mark Hostetler and Jan-Michael Archer and published by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation describes the online tool and shows how it can help preserve stopover habitat for migrating birds.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw416

Trueperella (Arcanobacterium pyogenes) in Farmed White-Tailed Deer

A fawn at a private deer farm. Photo by Tyler Jones taken on 10-13-15

Trueperella is a harmless bacterium in intestinal tracts of ruminants like deer, cattle, and pigs, but if it migrates out of the intestine to other areas of an animal’s body and proliferates, it can make the animal sick. Trueperella causes many problems in deer, including lesions, abscesses, and pneumonia, and it is one of the types of bacteria that is known to contribute to the disease lumpy jaw. In young fawns, it is a common cause of death. This 3-page fact sheet written by Kathryn D. Pothier, Katherine A. Sayler, and Samantha M. Wisely and published by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation explains how to spot and treat trueperella, or, better yet, prevent it in the first place.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw427

Protecting Florida Panthers by Protecting Domestic Animals: Building a "Panther-Proof" Pen

pantherproof livestock pen
Florida panthers once ranged throughout most of the southeastern United States, but loss of habitat and efforts to eradicate panthers during the 1800s led to a large decline throughout much of their historic range. Florida panthers were listed as an endangered species in 1967 and have been federally protected by the US Endangered Species Act since 1973. For the most part, the role of panthers in the natural environment benefits people (they prey on burgeoning populations of white-tailed deer, raccoons, opossums, and feral hogs). Panthers do sometimes kill pets and livestock in rural and residential areas in southwest Florida, however, and some people believe that panther kills happen because panther populations have grown too large or are not well-managed. In fact, the panther population is dangerously small, and most of these losses can be attributed to poor management not of panthers but of pets and livestock. To maintain support for panther conservation, it is paramount that rural residents protect and secure their pets and livestock. This 3-page fact sheet written by Phillip D. Rodgers, Elizabeth F. Pienaar, Mark Lotz, and Darrell Land and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation explains how to make a locking, secure enclosure to protect livestock from panther predation–and protect the fragile panther, as well.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw423

Florida's Bats: Brazilian Free-tailed Bat

Brazilian freetailed bat Merlin Tuttle

The Brazilian free-tailed bat lives throughout Florida and is the state’s most common bat. They are important economically because they consume large quantities of insect pests. This 2-page fact sheet written by Holly K. Ober, Terry Doonan, and Emily Evans, and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation explains how to differentiate Brazilian free-tailed bats from velvety free-tailed bats and Florida bonneted bats.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw424

Florida's Bats: Velvety Free-Tailed Bat

velvety-free-tailed-bat

The velvety free-tailed bat is found nowhere in the United States but extreme south Florida. These bats emerge from their roosts earlier than most other bats, often shortly before sunset. This 2-page fact sheet written by Holly K. Ober, Terry Doonan, and Emily Evans, and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation explains how to differentiate velvety free-tailed bats from Brazilian free-tailed bats and Florida bonneted bats.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw425

Florida's Bats: The Florida Bonneted Bat

Florida bonneted bat Merlin Tuttle

The Florida bonneted bat is one of only two endangered species of bat in Florida and the state’s only endemic flying mammal (“endemic” means that it is found nowhere in the world but in Florida). With a 20-inch wingspan, it is Florida’s largest bat and the third largest of all 48 species of bats in the United States. The Florida bonneted bat was listed as federally endangered in 2013 because of concerns over habitat loss, degradation, and modification caused by humans. Additional concerns include the species’ small population size and restricted range, the small number of known colonies, their slow reproduction, and the relative isolation of separate populations of bonneted bats. This 2-page fact sheet written by Holly K. Ober, Terry Doonan, and Emily Evans, and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation explains how to differentiate Florida bonneted bats from velvety free-tailed bats and Brazilian free-tailed bats and explains what to do if you find one of these endangered bats.http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw426

Ecological Risk Assessment for Invasive Wildlife in Florida

Cane toad (Bufo marinus)

Global trade and travel transport plants and animals from native ranges to new ecosystems. About 10 to 20% of nonnative (exotic, alien) species that arrive in new locales become invasive, meaning they are likely to harm the environment, economy, or public health. Preventing the introduction of invasive species is the most effective way to protect native biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. Once an invader begins to establish and spread, its control costs increase rapidly. Florida ports are the entry points for about half of the reptiles, arachnids, insects, and crustaceans imported into the United States. These arrivals, coupled with hospitable climate and habitats, have made Florida home to more invasive species than any other state but Hawaii. While it is too late to prevent the invasion of Burmese pythons and Argentine black and white tegus, we can act to prevent other potentially destructive species from establishing. This 6-page fact sheet written by Venetia Briggs-Gonzalez, Kyle Allen, Rebecca G. Harvey, and Frank J. Mazzotti and published by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation explains how to assess the risk that a given invasive species presents to the environment and how to develop and use risk-screening tools to reduce the harmful effects of invasions or, better yet, prevent them entirely.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw419

The American Crocodile: An Indicator Species for Everglades Restoration

crocodile hatchlings; Michiko Squires, University of Florida
The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is a top predator that lives along the southern tip of peninsular Florida, inhabiting saltwater, brackish water, or freshwater near coastal areas in mangrove-lined ponds, creeks, coves, man-made ponds, and canals. This 3-page fact sheet written by Rebecca G. Harvey, Michiko Squires, Jeff Beauchamp, Frank J. Mazzotti, and Laura A. Brandt and published by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation explains how monitoring populations of threatened crocodiles can help scientists chart the success of projects to restore the Everglades.
edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW422

Government Efforts to Protect Habitat for the Florida Panther on Private Lands

Figure 1. A Florida panther

Endangered Florida panthers live and breed on state and federal lands in south Florida, but they are a wide-ranging species, and the habitat available to them on public lands is not enough for them to thrive and recover. The 2008 Panther Recovery Plan by the US Fish and Wildlife Service requires that habitat for the panther be conserved on both public and private lands throughout the state. Private rangelands in southwest and south central Florida provide important habitat and prey for the Florida panther. These lands also play a key role in conserving other native species like gopher tortoises, bob white quail, turkeys, deer, vultures, scrub jays, cranes, black bears, and bobcats. Unfortunately, these rangelands are under increasing development pressure as the human population in Florida continues to grow. Multiple policy approaches have been put in place by local, state, and federal governments to address habitat loss and secure natural resources in Florida for our panthers. This 5-page fact sheet written by Elizabeth F. Pienaar and Melissa M. Kreye and published by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation provides a brief overview of existing regulatory and voluntary approaches to help conserve the Florida panther on private lands.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw413