See You Later, Alligator?
It’s only a matter of time before more alien species, like others released into the wild from the pet trade, begin to expand beyond the Everglades and into people’s back yards. Florida swimming pool pros realize that alligator and snake encounters come with the territory; however, in recent years, non-native species (see below) have made their way onto the list in the invasive swimmingpool – If not soon, after a while, crocodile?
A Florida family is afraid to use their swimming pool – and with good reason. Earlier this week, the family spotted a giant monitor lizard the size of an adult human lurking on their property. – livescience.com
Deep in the swamps of Florida’s Everglades, amid the bogs and thatches of river grass, war wages on in the southernmost part of the peninsula. With exception to being driven onto the endangered species list in 1973, where it remained until 1987, this living fossil is being forced to defend its territory against formidable opponents for what is likely, the first time in over 65 million years. Prehistoric monsters, meant to be separated by oceans, now compete against one another head-to-head to control North America’s tropical wetlands. As the availability of common prey animals wanes, this could lead to greater encroachment in search of food sources. With that, more encounters of both native and nonnative species in peoples backyards.
National Geographic reports that there has been a drastic decline due to pythons alone since 2000: Raccoon observations dropped by 99.3 percent, opossum by 98.9 percent, bobcat by 87.5 percent, and both rabbits or foxes dropped by observations by 100%. Yup, in an eight-year study covering 35,400 miles, they couldn’t find a single Rabbit!
Southeast Asia’s Burmese python has been gaining ground in the marsh since the 1980s and is now estimated to be in numbers thousands strong. Greater than seventeen feet in expanse, the giant constrictor has greatly reduced the pool of prey from which our living dinosaurs gain their sustenance. Moreover, and perhaps more threatening than the head-to-head competition for food, the constrictors have taken more than their share of gators in an attempt to satisfy voracious appetites of their own. Though the adult alligator can overcome an attack at weights of near 1,000 pounds, the hatchlings and juveniles up to 6 feet in length are no match against the full-grown serpent.
How Declining mammal populations in the Florida Everglades are linked to the invasive Burmese python – phys.org
The python, such a nefarious threat to the sunshine state’s ecosystem, Florida Wildlife Control has opened the Glades to hundreds of snake hunters annually in their attempt to reduce the population in their “Python Challenge” event.
Ophidian opposition aside, mercenaries of heinous malefaction enter the quagmire. Masters of thievery, the Nile monitor, and Argentinian tegu raid the alligator’s nests, searching for eggs and hatchlings beneath the wary eye of the protective cow. The invader affects the population before leaving the shell for refuge in what National Geographic refers to as the mother’s “Jaws of Love.” Mother gators often scooping up the young in their powerful jaws to protect them from invaders with the intent to do them harm.
Giant neotropical toads (Bufu Toads) were released into the sugar cane fields of Florida back in the 1950s to reduce insect populations that might affect the crops. Reproducing at a ridiculous rate, these toxic mega toads of South America have been pushing their way across the state. Yes!!! These are the Toads folks were licking a few years back to get high. Sadly, in their reach across the peninsula, they have been responsible for many family pets’ deaths.
Also imported to Australia, they are believed to be responsible for the growing death toll of the country’s freshwater crocodiles for similar reasons. The toxins so powerful, poisoning the giant reptiles upon ingestion. With no predator in either the U.S. or in the land down under, the threat level is only increasing over time. One can assume that if frog legs are on the menu for freshies, they may be responsible for a few gator deaths in the States.
“‘Crocodile Dundee’ is about people; it’s 10 seconds about crocodiles” – Paul Hogan
The Nile crocodile is a menacing predator that reaches up to 20 feet and weighs 1600 lbs. With the proven ability to kill a hippopotamus, this aggressive beast is responsible for the deaths of 200 people annually in its native habitat.
Once on the verge of extinction, the much smaller American alligator is responsible for the death of 25 people in Florida (in Total) since 1948.
Could we see a shift in apex predators from a native species to an invasive species? Probably not in our lifetime, but is it a possibility for future generations? A new Alpha would definitely have a profound effect on the ecosystem with repercussions spanning decades.
According to Florida Today, here are another 5 invasives that should be on Florida’s “Least Wanted” list:
- Feral Hog
- Lion Fish
- Cuban Tree Frogs
- Giant African Land Snails
To learn more about alien species in Florida: Florida’s Nonnative Fish and Wildlife.
This Post Has 26 Comments
Whoa that’s insane! We have it pretty bad in Australia though, especially up north with the crocs and other creepy crawlies…
I figured there would be creatures that would be able to get into people’s pool’s…what I didn’t realize was how many there would be. That gives me the heeby jeeby’s!
Oh my! This was quite a scary read. We did come across an alligator while driving through Florida, but I didn’t realise how many more reptiles are lurking in there.
It is things like this that make me glad I don’t live in a swamp area.
I live in Texas but OMG! Good to know! We move a lot for work so ya never know! Awesome info!
Wow I never thought there could be these problems, luckily I don’t live in an area with many snakes or animals like this ahaha
Shit, that looks really scary.
Sending to my pops I’m Florida ASAP!
This reminds me of the news I saw years back about a family who were shocked to discover a 6ft Alligator in their pool.
My daughter is fascinated by these stories and we just moved to Florida. I will share with her.
OMG….I am not a fan to all these…am a bit timid : P an interesting sharing, thanks! cheers, siennylovesdrawing
I think I would love living in this kind of environment as I would look forward to meeting the new animals ?
OMG, this is scary! One should really know about their surroundings.
This send shivers down my spine. People in Florida really have to stay vigilant
This is like one of my worst fears! Ahhh! Thankful to not live in Florida for this reason. Although, it is a beautiful state. I think I would just die on the spot if i had seen something crazy like this in my pool. Does this just become the norm for Florida residents?
Finding critters in the pool from time to time is pretty much the norm. Finding nonnative species in the pool is far from the norm, but it does happen from time to time. However, if we do not do something about these animals that are being released, the occurrences will become more frequent. I’ve not seen a native tree frog in a couple of years, I fear the Cuban tree frogs may have wiped them out in my area. Have you heard about the hordes of Monkeys in Ocala?
I would freak out every day if I lived in Florida. This is insane.
Wow, I didn’t know there were a lot of invasive species in Florida. I pass this along to my friends living in FL.
OMG this is scary I really snakes but thanks for giving such an information to aware people for this place!
The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the blog heading was the movie “Piranhas”!. This is so scary.
If there was a Burmese python near my pool, I would never swim again!!
This is so important, as when I vacationed there as a child when I was in 6th grade there was a gater that swam up right next to me while I was sunbathing!
For me it was a scary read. I would never visit Florida again!
Thanks for this post! I’ve seen all those Youtube videos of those nasty creepy crawlies that can get into a pool! Here in Aus… there are big, bad crocs who would love to lurk inside your pool, so a timely post!
I grew up Wisconsin and this is all foreign to me! I read this out loud to my wife for extra fun!
lol. ??? How did she take it?
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