FWC has released updated figures on panther depredation in Collier County through June 25, 2018.
A panther depredation is when a panther kills or injures domestic animals such as goats, sheep, calves, dogs or house cats.
Panthers are carnivores that primarily prey on white-tailed deer, hogs and raccoons but they are opportunistic hunters and their diet varies. Any unsecured domestic animal may be at risk to depredation.
Homeowners and Hobby Farmers
The best way to protect your household pets and backyard hobby animals is to keep them indoors or in a predator-resistant enclosure, especially at night.
In order for an enclosure to provide adequate protection against panthers, it must be totally enclosed. The roof can be solid or made of heavy gauge fencing (such as chain link). The sides should be secured and flush with the ground so there are no gaps or weak spots that a panther may push through or go under.
Make sure the door is securely fastened so it cannot come open if it is rammed by an animal on the inside (a chain or cable fixed around gate posts will keep the gate closed).
You can build an enclosure of your own design or follow the plans in the FWC’s guide to building enclosures which may be found on the website
Finally, the most important thing is to consistently use it!
Remove or reduce low-growing vegetation that can provide cover. Panthers are ambush predators and must get as close as possible before initiating an attack.
Install motion-activated lighting. The surprise of a light suddenly coming on may alter a panther’s intentions.
Electric fencing around an enclosure also may deter an inquisitive panther from attempting to get your animals. But it is ineffective when placed on perimeter fencing surrounding one’s property, because panthers can easily jump over a fence and may never come into contact with the hot wire.
Who to Call
If you experience a panther depredation, please call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone. The FWC investigates reports of panther depredations and provides technical assistance to prevent future conflicts.
For more information visit myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/managed/panther.