Protected Wildlife May Impact Vacant Land Purchases in Florida

Are you considering the purchase of undeveloped land or building lots in Southwest Florida for investment or future use? You need to be aware of habitat protection issues relating to some endangered creatures.

Florida Scrub Jay Florida Scrub Jay2

The Florida Scrub Jay is found only in Florida. It has been Federally designated as “Threatened”. Some areas have been mapped as likely habitat and if your (potential) property falls within this map, permits must be purchased for the verification of and mitigation of Scrub Jay nests. A link to the Charlotte County map is You can enter the address or PID into this map to find out if it lies in a suspect area. If your property is located outside of Charlotte County, check with the appropriate County office.

Gopher-tortoise-in-burrow-entrance Gopher (Burrowing) Turtle

The Gopher, or Burrowing, Turtle is another protected species. This fellow is protected in Florida as well as being protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act. If there are Burrowing Turtles and/or Burrowing Turtle tunnels on the property, you need to contact the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to find out about relocation possibilities. Here is a factsheet about the laws and guidelines for the Gopher Turtle. I have read that there is a $1,000 fine for moving/damaging/killing these turtles, and, if verified as true, anyone turning you in for such action could get a $1,000 reward.

Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan, which includes the Gopher Turtle, lists 57 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, reptiles and invertebrates. For further information:

As of January 2015, the total estimated population of the Florida Panther, which is brown with a white belly, is reported to be 70-100 animals, making it one of the most endangered species. One of the deadliest threats to this beautiful animal is motorists, please watch for them when driving. They are small, and often confused with the Florida bobcat.

Florida Panther Florida Bobcat

Florida Panther                                                         Florida Bobcat

For additional information, please contact the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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