Invasive species are a major threat to the United States; mostly Florida. These species are the worst ones we have in Florida. ‘We are ground zero for the impacts of invasive species,” says Doria Gordon, the director of conservation science for the Florida chapter of the Nature Conservancy (TNC). “And our invaders are very good at finding new habitats. ” Usually those habitats are around South Florida in the everglades. The mix of suburbs and wilderness around the area of the everglades, makes the Everglades a place where all species can live.
The first species is the Lionfish; a venomous fish with red and white stripes and it’s long pectoral fins. The venom of the lionfish is shown to be very defensive. It relies on camouflage and fast impulsives to capture prey, they mainly eat fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is severely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is hardly fatal. Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are originally home to the reefs and rocky caves of the Indian Ocean, but have made their way to warm ocean habitats as in the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico.
Here are some fast facts about the Lionfish; they are carnivores who can live up to 15 years in the ocean, they can grow from 11-15 inches long, and up to 2. 6 pounds. This fish is approximately the size of a tea cup. Their introduction is known to have appeared during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, when at least six lionfish escaped from a broken beachside aquarium around the area of Biscayne Bay. Researchers have discovered that a single lionfish dwelling on a coral reef can cut down “employment” of native reef fishes by 79 percent.
Because lionfish feed on prey normally consumed by nappers, groupers, and other very important native species, their existence could possibly affect the competitive fishing industry. As lionfish populations increase, it adds more stress on coral reefs already striving from the effects of climate change, pollution, disease, overfishing, and other problems that have led to the classification of seven coral species in the lionfish-infested area. For example, lionfish eat herbivores and herbivores eat algae off of coral reefs. Without herbivores, algae/seaweed growth goes uncontrolled, which can be harmful to the health and strength of coral reefs.
Some scientists believe that there is no way to stop the invasion. Any massive attempts to remove the fish from the Atlantic waters seem to be unreal and could be pricey in ways, because of the huge range and depths that the fish already habitats. The second species is the burmese python; a nonvenomous snake with cool patterned skin. The python has a super fast growth rate, a gentle temper, and may possibly best known as the large snake of choice by reptile owners. Sadly, these reptiles are often badly cared for and then released into the wild.
Also, attacks on owners, (sometimes deadly) are not uncommon. These pythons are native to the jungles and grassy swamps of Southeast Asia. This reptile is a carnivore that can live from 20-25 years and can grow up to 16-23 feet long, and also can reach up to 200 pounds. “Baby”, an unusual named Burmese python living at the Serpent Safari Park in Illinois, is 27 feet long and holds a world record for the largest snake weighing around 403 pounds. Burmese pythons are carnivores, eating and living off of small mammals and birds.
They lack good eyesight, and stalk prey using chemical stimuli in their tongues and heatsensitivity along their jaws. They kill prey by constriction, which is when you grasp a victim with your sharp teeth, wrapping your body around the animal, and squeezing until it suffocates. They have stretchy knots in their jaws that allows them to swallow all their food all at once and in whole. Burmese pythons are lonely reptiles and are usually only seen together during spring mating. Females lay up to 100 eggs, which they incubate for 2-3 months. To keep their eggs warm, they continually contract, or shiver with their muscles.
The actual idea of their introduction is not known, however it is thought that the Burmese pythons escaped from a breeding facility that was ruined during Hurricane Andrew. It is also likely that pet pythons have been discharged in and around the Everglades. They are known to prey on many animals, including raccoons, rabbits, bobcats. House Wrens, and even White-tailed deer. All of these species have shown very fast decreases in their populations. Many seriously endangered animals, such as the Wood Rat, have been found in the digestive systems of Pythons.
The Pythons are interrupting the natural food chain, and this can purposely cause many severe impacts to an ecosystem. For example, they are decreasing the population of bobcats, and bobcats eat squirrels. Since there is a decrease of bobcats, there are not enough sufficient predators to squirrels. This increases the population of squirrels in the areas that Burmese Pythons are located. The Pythons also show a threat to our native snakes, such as the Eastern Diamondback and the Eastern Indigo snake. The Python’s voracious appetites and extreme size do not leave enough food for the smaller native snakes causing them to die.
To help resolve the issue, The Nature Conservancy in Florida started the Python Patrol in the Florida Keys in 2008 and, with the help of Everglades National Park, extended the production to the main area in 2010. One of the 400+ responders trained by the Conservancy can deal straightly with the position by safely and kindly capturing and getting rid of pythons or other bizarre constrictors they find. In 2010, the Florida Legislature selected a protection service stopping personal ownership of seven large constrictors and one large monitor lizard, earlier given the name “reptiles of concern.
These eight reptiles, containing the Burmese python, are now shown as limited species; the people who owned these reptiles previously before the law went into development and followed after state permitting, microchipping and caging necessities were granted to keep the reptiles they already owned. The third species is the Green Iguana. The Iguana, also known as the most common iguana; is the largest lizard in the Americas, around 6. 5 feet and about 11 pounds. They are one of the most popular reptile pet in the United States regardless of how hard they are to care for.
Usually the iguanas that are kept as pets or held captive, die within the first year; or many get released into the wild or are given to reptile rescue groups. The iguanas have a wide range of living areas. Some examples are: Northern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and Southern Brazil. They spend most of their lives in an overhanging covering and only leave to mate, lay eggs, or change trees. Generally herbivores, iguanas are more active during the day, eating on leaves, flowers, and fruit. They usually live by water and are great swimmers.
If endangered, they will jump from a branch, sometimes from increasing heights, and escape with a leap to the water under them. They are also solid enough to land on sturdy ground from as high as 40 feet and live. Iguanas’ big sturdy bodies gives them a lazy look, but they are fast and active on land. They have sturdy jaws with razor-sharp teeth and sharp tails, which make up most of their body length and can be used as whips to scare off predators. They can also break off their tails if caught and will grow another tail without any previous permanent damage.
Some other members of the iguana family include the Fiji Island banded iguana, the desert iguana, and the Galapagos Islands marine iguana. Their looks, actions, and threatened rankings differ from species to species. Due to Florida’s height in the exotic pet trade, iguanas given to us as pets have escaped or been released into the wild, and are now settled in South Florida. They can do all sorts of damage to your plants. Iguanas eat plants and that is very true when you are talking about types of fruit plants. They also need a place to live/ helter and if you do not have messes or somewhere for them to go hide in then they will dig and bury themselves.
Finally they can spread bad diseases such as salmonella or an infection due to unexpected touching with them. The contact has to include contact with feces, a bite or a scratch. Iguanas are usually a big problem in southern Florida, where they breed in large numbers which is hard to get rid of. The two main ways to get rid of them are to trap and snare them. A snare trap is a trap that allows ly some freedom of movement such as twisting and writhing but will still hold them from escaping.
Any iguanas that should be caught in the trap should be carefully moved into a cage; or you could use just a basic cage trap that catches one iguana at a time. All you have to do it put at least one piece of any fruit but preferably mangoes or bananas. Once you catch the iguana, you do not want to release it in a different location will most likely be illegal because it is not a native species there. So usually people put them into a chest freezer, and usually this is the kind and considerate way shown by the state to put an iguana to death in Florida.
It may be worth talking with a local pet store as sometimes the younger iguanas could still somewhat be trained and sold as pets, but the older reptiles will often be too wild to make good, loving pets. So all these species are a threat to Florida; some by killing other species and some by eating the species as well. We all need to help to stop letting these nonnative species into the United States and we need to stop spreading them somehow. Even the cost to get rid of all the invasive plants cost about $100 million dollars, so the cost could easily multiply by adding all the different species too.
Here are some ways you can prevent the species spreading: check boat trailers, boat hulls and boat propellers, rinse and remove aquatic plants or “hitchhikers” such as snails, don’t dump aquarium contents in lakes, channels or other water areas, replace invasive and other non-native plants in your yard with native species, make sure produce bought and delivered through the mail is from reputable companies that have their shipments inspected, have houseplants brought into the state inspected for potential pests. Try and protect our state by doing whatever you can to prevent them; they are harmful.