A Hillsborough County judge is debating whether the county’s rules on wildlife habitat are unconstitutional. Those rules force the county to preserve a quarter of large tracts of land as undeveloped wildlife habitat. Such land is deemed significant if it contains natural plant systems that support the needs of wildlife. In addition, counties must designate some areas as essential habitat for endangered or threatened species.
Hillsborough County’s many parks and conservation areas are home to a variety of wildlife. White-tailed deer are particularly common. These creatures are usually seen in low-growing vegetation at dawn and dusk. Males often sport antlers and are easily spotted. Wildlife in Hillsborough County can cause extensive damage to your property, so it’s important to be aware of what to watch out for.
Hillsborough River State Park provides many outdoor recreational activities. Visitors can hike and bike on seven miles of trails, and explore the wildlife that lives in the Hillsborough River. The park also has historic structures and scenic landscapes. The park is located just minutes from downtown Tampa. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about local history and learn more about wildlife in the area.
Another interesting local wildlife is the manatee. These creatures typically reach nine or 10 feet long and weigh a half-ton. They live in the warm Tampa Bay waters and can be spotted at a manatee viewing center. This facility is north of Apollo Beach. For a close look at this incredible reptile, visit the manatee viewing center.
Wildlife rescue organizations in Hillsborough County are often called to help displaced, injured or sick animals. If you find an injured raccoon, fox, or skunk, make sure you don’t handle the animal. It could be a dangerous animal with sharp talons and beaks. If you do, contact a wildlife rehabilitator. Don’t feed the wild animals as they may carry dangerous diseases.
The Florida Game Commission keeps track of the population of various species. The Eastern Gray Squirrel harvest was up about two percent from the previous year, but was still the second-lowest in the past decade. The Game Commission began tracking Eastern Gray Squirrel harvests in 1986. This means that more than a hundred thousand Eastern Gray Squirrel were killed in Hillsborough County in 2006-07. If you want to help wildlife conservation in Hillsborough County, contact your local wildlife management organization.
Bobcats are a common resident of swamps, hammocks and forests. These cats are double the size of domestic cats and have territories of up to six miles in the wild. However, their habitat is severely diminished in urban areas. Bobcats feed on rodents, small mammals, and birds.