Where I work backs up to The Hundred Acre Wood aka Eglin Reservation. We've had bear-dumpster issues many a time, giant insane wild boars that had to be trapped and removed, I've seen foxes and deer in the parking lot within about 30 feet of large buildings, coworker has ended up fishing hypothermic armadillos out of water features and rescuing possums who got themselves stuck in trash cans, and we got talking to the mail guy today about how he'd seen a bobcat on campus while making his rounds a few days earlier. And I'm trying to repress the story from one of the basketball coaches about how during one of the big construction projects they'd regularly get snakes seeking out territory to relocate to in the locker rooms.
Despite it all the biggest current human-critter interaction concern from above these days seems to be how we're not supposed to feed the squirrels.
It's hard to believe that a panther (which is really a cougar, of course) could get all the way up to the panhandle from the small population of about 70 in the Everglades. Plus, if there's one here, there has to be more and no carcass has ever been found, unlike in S. Florida. A quick google pulled up an interesting story about a large cat that is smaller than a cougar, but still pretty big at about 50 lbs. called a jaguarundi. It's known to inhabit the Southwestern US and there are reports that it may have reached as far as our neck of the woods. I sure hope there are no panthers around here, whether they're well-fed or not. Here's the story that discusses both panthers and jaguarundi in our area. Are people really seeing Florida panthers? : The Corsair
.I too, have seen a Florida Panther, a couple of years ago at 7:00 a.m. on Thompson Rd. going through state lands. A panther (cougar) is unmistakeable compared to a jaguarundi or a bobcat. When I reported it to the state authorities, they did not registar it as a sighting. A verified sighting could mean the creation of a 'panther protection zone' in Florida.