PORT ST. LUCIE PEOPLE
The 1984 movie Ghostbusters theme song asks “Who you
gonna call?” when strange things happen. People with
strange animal issues may call Taylor Runk, owner of
Rats to Bats Wildlife Removal. And the removal aspect is key
to his philosophy of conservation.
The job has its challenges. When someone called claiming
to have a duck in his attic, Runk was skeptical.
“There actually was a large duck flying back and forth over
a ton of eggs,” he explains. “We pushed it out of the roof line
into a cage.”
Although the eggs were rotten, the duck was released onto
the 40-acre piece of land Runk leases for such situations.
Invasive species must, by law, be terminated. Other healthy
animals are relocated — if they need to be.
“We live in Florida,” Runk says. “A daytime sighting of a
raccoon is probably a nursing mother just looking for food.
Opossums look ugly and scary, but they don’t carry rabies
and they’re very easy to deal with.”
The leased land also houses bees. Licensed and certified,
Runk works with another beekeeper maintaining hundreds
of hives there.
“Some are used for honey,” he says. “Others are shipped to
areas as pollinators.”
Since most plants require cross-pollination, bees are vital
to the health of the planet but their numbers have steadily
declined for several decades.
“I get calls because of bees inside structures,” Runk says,
“but also when they swarm outside.”
While some companies might rush over and charge for
removal, Runk advises waiting a day.
“A swarm will usually just move on.”
Runk’s high standard for the way he runs his business is
understandable because he built it himself from scratch.
“I’ll tell customers the way it is, whether they like it or
not,” he says. “Honest and transparent — it’s easier to sleep
Runk started saving money as a child, rarely spending unless
an item was necessary. At 14, he worked as a painter with
44 Port St. Lucie Magazine
Taylor Runk is experienced and equipped to trap and release nuisance wildlife that the county’s animal control units are not authorized to handle.
BY ELLEN GILLETTE