Pest control is an ongoing battle on Anna Maria Island, as it is in most subtropical places. Instead of pests, many Islanders like to call them critters. It sounds less disgusting or frightening than the real names for some of the creatures who share the environment and homes of most Floridians. Sometimes it’s possible to see the critters in a positive light. This article is about trying to do just that. It’s an exercise in trying to change your attitude if you can’t change the situation. Because our situation in Florida is that the critters are as determined to be here as we are.
One critter that is considered a pest by some, but a beloved pet by others, is the squirrel. As long as their numbers are not too great, and as long as they nest in the trees and not your house, squirrels can be very entertaining little visitors. When storms blow baby squirrels out of their nests, Wildlife Education and Rehab takes in hundreds of them, and with the help of volunteers raises them until they are big enough to run wild. It’s easy for many Islanders to see squirrels in a positive light, not the target of pest control measures.