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Do You Like Florida Wildlife?

A story about meeting a Florida Panther face to face on Bahia Vista St. and other adventures.

One of the most appealing things about living in Florida is the abundance of wildlife. I don't mean wild nightlife, although there is probably a lot of that, too.

I love being able to walk into my yard and see a family of Sandhill Cranes marching around or a group of squirrels in the trees. 

Many years ago, I was amazed to have a face to face encounter with a Florida Panther right here in Sarasota. At that time I owned and rode horses. My horses were pastured out on Bahia Vista on property that is now a subdivision.

One evening after work I went out to feed my horses and there, drinking from a small pond on the property, was a Florida Panther.

He saw me but continued drinking and then turned and disappeared into the woods. I never saw him again but it was a great experience that I will never forget. Our horses were never hurt there, so he must have been a hunter of smaller animals.

Feeding time for our horses was always after work; in the winter it was near dark or after dark. It was always an adventure. That particular pasture had a lot of Brahma cattle with large horns and I was a little afraid of them. I used to drive my car up to the gate and then jump out to open and close the gate and quickly get back into the car to avoid the cows.

Of course, since I had come from work, I had on a business suit or dress and hose and heels. I kept boots in the car but somehow they didn't go with the dress and hose. One time I had to take off the hose to use them as a rope around a horse's neck to lead him in to be fed.

Nowadays I have much milder adventures but my favorites always involve some type of wildlife. I seem to attract baby possums and squirrels in distress and also birds.

One of the really great places to take animals in distress is the Wildlife Center of Venice, Inc. They are on Border Road in Venice. Their website is www.wildlifecenterofvenice.org.

I usually call first before taking an animal, but you can find them there during the day at all times. This group does a huge job of being on call for animals and birds that are sick or have problems.

So if you find some animal that needs rescuing, call them. They of course, would love it if you contribute to their cause; they can use any amount, however small.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kim Northrop December 30, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Nice story! I am glad you are possum-friendly. The little critters get a bad rap!
Kathryn Baker December 30, 2012 at 05:46 PM
thanks for the comment Kim. Oh yes, we are possum friendly at our house, I don't even like to kill ants with one exception, fire ants...they hurt and I have to get rid of them.

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