FWC and Public Safety: Coexisting with Florida’s Wildlife

Florida’s lush landscapes and diverse ecosystems are a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and home to many species, from the majestic to the minute. As residents or visitors of the Sunshine State, encounters with wildlife are not just possible; they’re a part of daily life. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) plays a pivotal role in managing these encounters, ensuring the safety of both humans and animals. This article delves into the essentials of coexisting with Florida’s wildlife, offering guidance rooted in FWC regulations to foster a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.

FWC and public safety image

Understanding Wildlife Behavior

Various factors influence wildlife behavior, including habitat, season, and human activity. Recognizing that animals act out of necessity rather than malice can shift our approach to coexistence. For instance, an alligator basking on a riverbank isn’t displaying aggression but simply regulating body temperature. Such insights into animal behavior are crucial for safe and respectful coexistence.

Key Wildlife Species and Safety Guidelines

Florida’s diverse fauna includes species that may require specific safety considerations:

Alligators: These ancient reptiles are common in Florida’s waterways. Keeping a safe distance and refraining from feeding them is paramount to avoid conflicts.

Bears: Florida’s black bears, while mostly shy, can venture close to human habitats in search of food. Securing garbage and removing outdoor attractants can minimize these encounters.

Venomous Snakes: Florida has several venomous snake species. Learning to identify these snakes and understanding how to react when encountering them in the wild can prevent unnecessary harm.

Marine Life: The state’s coastal waters teem with life, including sharks and jellyfish. Knowledge of safe swimming practices and marine wildlife behavior is essential for beachgoers.

Preventing Negative Wildlife Interactions

Proactive measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of negative interactions with wildlife. This includes securing food sources, properly managing waste, and modifying landscapes to deter wildlife from entering residential areas. Such preventative strategies protect humans and property and safeguard wildlife from potential harm.

What to Do in Case of a Wildlife Emergency

Despite precautions, wildlife emergencies can occur. Knowing when and how to contact FWC or local emergency services is crucial. FWC provides resources and support for handling wildlife encounters, offering a responsive framework to address these situations effectively.

Educational Resources and Community Programs

FWC offers many educational resources and community programs promoting wildlife safety and conservation. Participating in these programs can enhance understanding and appreciation of Florida’s natural heritage, empowering communities to participate actively in conservation efforts.

The Role of FWC in Managing Wildlife and Public Safety

FWC’s comprehensive approach to wildlife management and public safety includes research, monitoring, and the implementation of regulations designed to protect both wildlife and human communities. Highlighting successful interventions and programs underscores the importance of FWC’s work in maintaining the state’s ecological balance.


Living in harmony with Florida’s wildlife requires respect, caution, and a commitment to conservation. By following FWC guidelines and adopting a proactive stance toward wildlife safety, we can ensure that Florida remains a safe and thriving habitat for all its inhabitants.

Embrace Florida’s natural beauty with respect and responsibility. Educate yourself and your community about wildlife safety, support FWC’s conservation efforts, and remember that coexistence is the key to preserving the state’s rich biodiversity for future generations.

Andrew Sando

Sando Law, P.A. represents clients pre and post criminal charges, clients facing fish and wildlife violations, and clients in need of immigration counsel.