Florida's Most Common Invasive Species
If you’ve ever been to Florida, you already know that the state is a haven for exotic species. Whether you're a Floridian who's born and raised or just visiting for a vacation, be sure to keep these Florida natives in mind when you head outdoors. It’s essential to educate yourself about these creatures before making their home at your residential/commercial building or local park.
The following list includes some of the most common invasive species that can be found in Florida.
Have you ever heard of the common invasive species called a Burmese Python? If not, then you are about to get an earful. This snake is native to Southeast Asia but has been in Florida since the 1980s when it was introduced into the Everglades National Park by accident. Since then, this giant snake has become one of Florida's most common and terrifying residents. These scary creatures are not just an ecological threat; they also pose a public health concern.
There are many common invasive species in Florida, but one of the most dangerous could be found slithering through your backyard. Burmese pythons have become a common sight throughout the state due to their hardy nature and ability to thrive in different climates. These snakes are often found near water sources like swamps and marshes, making them difficult to get rid of. Burmese Python can grow up to 20 feet long.
It's common knowledge that alligators are common in Florida, but now one of the most common invasive species is also giant lizards. These creatures are about 20 feet long with tails that can reach up to 5 feet long. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed that there had been sightings of iguanas in the state for at least ten years. These giant lizards have been spotted in the wilds of Miami-Dade County and Broward County in recent years, according to biologists at the University of Florida and other agencies who study them.
People have suggested many things trying to get rid of these lizards but, so far, nothing has worked. Some say that one lizard can eat a large deer or an entire family of four. Inventive Floridians have managed to domesticate these creatures and turn them into common household pets. These giant lizards are often found lounging on armchairs or sunning themselves in yards all over Florida. Some people have even taken to raising their own from eggs which they can purchase at local pet stores.
Florida is home to a common invasive species, the feral hog. These are non-native populations of wild pigs that have adapted well to Florida’s tropical climate. They are common throughout Florida and can be found in many different habitats, including forests, swamps, marshes, prairies, agricultural lands, and suburban areas. They reproduce quickly and cause significant damage to natural habitats, which has become an increasing concern for conservationists in recent years.
The big concern with feral hogs is that they can spread diseases to other animals and humans, compete for resources with native wildlife species, destroy habitats by digging up vegetation or tearing down fences or walls of buildings. Feral hogs will eat anything they can find, including plants, other animals, insects, or even garbage if it’s available. The feral hog population has increased rapidly due to the lack of predators and humans not doing their part to control them.
It is common knowledge that Florida has a variety of invasive species, but many people don't know about the cane toads. Cane toads are common in North and Central America, South America, and Africa. They often live near bodies of water or other wet areas where they find plenty of food. The problem with cane toads is that they produce toxic saliva, which can kill most animals when ingested; this includes pets such as dogs and cats.
Humans have introduced these creatures and can be found in various locations around Florida, including Miami-Dade County. Cane toads are an issue since they compete with native animals for food and water, reproduce quickly, and carry diseases like salmonella and warts.
Lionfish are common in the waters surrounding Florida and can be found as far south as Brazil. They were introduced to Florida waters by an aquarium owner who released 20 of them into a canal near Miami in 1985. They’re common invasive species in Florida and can be found living in saltwater and freshwater. The common name for this fish is the "devil firefish" because of its bright red coloration.
They usually grow up to 12 inches long and have venomous spines on their back and dorsal fin, which they use to defend themselves from predators. These spines can numb your mouth if you eat them or touch them because it contains a toxin called tetrodotoxin - but don't worry about these little guys; we only catch them for dinner! Lionfish have no natural predators other than man, which is why they have been able to proliferate their population so quickly and spawn such devastating effects on native fish populations.
The Sunshine State is home to a wide variety of invasive species, some more common than others. With warm weather and plenty of water sources, Florida is an ideal place for these types of pests to thrive. If you’ve been to Florida, chances are you’ve come across one or more of the five most common invasive species mentioned in this post.