Check out these EXOTIC Pets That Are TAKING OVER Florida! From pets released into the ecosystem to other invasive species taking over the ecosystem, here is why you should never release your animals into the wild!
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8. BURMESE PYTHON
27 years ago, southern Florida was ravaged by Hurricane Andrew. The category 5 hurricane was the most destructive tropical storm to hit the state until Irma passed through during late 2017, and the damage was extensive. One unexpected consequence of Hurricane Andrew was the release of captive Burmese pythons into the regional ecosystem.
7. GREEN IGUANA
The green iguana is Florida’s most invasive species, due largely to the uninformed decision of many people to get one as a pet without realizing how much care they require. Iguanas need lots of food, become hostile during mating season, and can grow up to five feet long (1.5 m).
6. NILE MONITOR
Thanks yet again to pet owners not knowing how to handle their unwanted reptiles, Africa’s largest lizard now also bears the distinction of being Florida’s largest lizard. The Nile monitor was first spotted in Cape Coral in 1990, after most likely being abandoned by an aspiring exotic pet owner who was ill-prepared for the responsibilities associated with caring for the large and intelligent species.
5. AFRICAN CLAWED FROG
In 2016, researchers from the University of Florida discovered a local population of the African clawed frog. While the frog is known to breed in various parts of the world, their presence in Florida was previously unknown. African clawed frogs have been commonly used since the 1930’s as specimens for biological research, and were also popular for determining if a woman was pregnant until the 1970’s, when modern pregnancy tests came long.
4. GIANT AFRICAN LAND SNAIL
After these three animals on today’s list, it should come as no surprise to you that Florida has also been invaded by the world’s largest terrestrial mollusk, or the giant African land snail, which grows to eight inches (20 cm) long and reaches a diameter of up to four inches (10 cm).
3. FERAL HOGS
Wild hogs are a problem throughout all of Florida’s 67 counties and may have first arrived in the state as early as 1539, courtesy of Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto for hunting and food. They can grow between five and six feet long and can weigh upwards of 150 pounds.
Lionfish are beautiful to look at, but they don’t belong in Florida’s waters. These highly-venomous fish are native to Indonesia and are equipped with very poisonous spines. They are impressively adaptable and can survive in a variety of marine environments. Lionfish prey on nearly everything and can consume up to 30 times their stomach volume.
1. RHESUS MACAQUE
For the past 80 years, Florida’s Silver Spring State Park has been home to a population of rhesus macaques, a monkey that is native to south and southeast Asia. National Geographic reports that their population is estimated to double in size and carry a deadly herpes virus.
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